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We’re always asked “Can paint cans be recycled?” and the answer is YES! In fact, paint and paint products are amongst the most common items bought to CopperRock Recycling centre for recycling! We’re a permanent collection site for Paintback with 20 large containers for unused paint, sealed waste paint or paint cans to be recycled. 

Each year, about 5% of the 100 million litres of paint purchased ends up as hazardous landfill waste. However, with safe paint disposal practices, waste paint and its by-products can be recycled and turned into valuable commodities, and that’s what Paintback is all about.

Paintback is an independent not-for-profit organisation established in 2016. They’re an industry-led initiative designed to divert unwanted paint and packaging from ending up in landfill and vital waterways. Paintback is driven by the Australian paint industry and the major companies that supply around 90% of all the architectural and decorative paint sold in Australia. Paintback’s founding members are Dulux, Haymes, PPG, Resene and Wattyl.

Paintback is also committed to researching new ways to repurpose unwanted paint materials and help develop a circular economy. Paintback’s Research & Development program aims to improve the current resource recovery towards 90% diversion from landfill and movement up the waste hierarchy.

What paint can I recycle at CopperRock?

At CopperRock we accept the following paint and paint products:

  • Deck coatings and floor paints
  • Interior and exterior architectural paint
  • Packaging
  • Varnishes and urethanes (single components)
  • Wood coatings
  • Empty paint tins

Refer to Paintback’s site for a full list of accepted products.

Unfortunately, we cannot accept aerosol paint cans or spray paint cans for recycling. However, empty spray paint cans can be recycled in your yellow recycling bins for council curbside collection. If the aerosol can isn’t empty, it should be disposed of through your council’s hazardous waste program or contact Sustainability Victoria regarding their free Detox-your-home program. Check out our Do’s and Don’ts list for more info on what you can recycle at CopperRock.

How is paint recycled?

When you bring your unwanted paint and paint containers into CopperRock we store them in the Paintback containers ready for collection. Paintback then collects and transports it to their treatment plant where the packaging and liquid are separated so everything can be recycled where possible. 

The containers are recycled (subject to contamination levels), the solvent paint is used as an alternative energy source and water is separated from acrylic paint, with the by-product used in a variety of industrial applications significantly reducing landfill! 

With paint being such a popular item to be recycled at CopperRock, our Paintback collection bins are often full just days after being emptied. Unfortunately, the freight issues Victoria’s transport industry is facing have affected our recycling program, with delays in collection reducing the amount of paint we can accept. To ensure we can accept your unwanted and used paints and defer them from ending up in landfill you can call ahead to check our collection status.

If you’re after paint recycling in Melbourne, look no further than CopperRock Recycling Centre! Check out the entire list of accepted products on our website.