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Frequently Asked Questions

The following Information will help you better understand the Paintback journey.

What is Paintback?

Paintback is a first for trade painters.  From May 2016 Paintback – a new national waste paint collection scheme will be launched, providing a cost effective service for households and trade painters to clear away left over paint.

It aims to reduce the large volumes of waste paint and packaging going to landfill.

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How much will it cost?

The levy is 15 cents per litre (plus GST) applied to the wholesale price of eligible paint through trade and retail outlets (It is not mandatory for a retail outlet to display the levy on their receipt).  This waste levy has been approved by the ACCC. The levy will fund the collection and treatment of waste paint nationally, education campaigns and research.

The levy is collected from participating paint companies (manufacturers and importers), which is then passed on in full to all their customers. This results in a once-off price increase to cover the 15 cent per litre levy and GST. Trade painters can pass this cost through to their customers. This ensures that any paint left for touch ups is covered whenever customers need to dispose of it in the future.

Where do I take my unwanted paint and packaging?

Paintback will establish collection sites across Australia where you can drop-off your unwanted paint and packaging for no extra charge. We are aiming to roll-out three sites per month, with a target of approximately 70 sites in the next couple of years.  The current Paintback collection sites are listed here.

Mobile collections will also be organised in the future where permanent collection points may not be available.

Why can’t I take it back to my retailer or trade store?

Disposing of product where you purchased it from is not an environmentally suitable location for disused paint cans to be collected. Dropping waste paint off at participating Paintback local council or Cleanaway sites ensures that the waste paint collected can be managed by suitably trained staff, stored in a purpose-built area designed for your safety when at the site.

How do I access the sites when I operate regionally?

For areas with lower populations or that are remote, there may not be possible to establish permanent collection sites initially.

Paintback intends to run mobile collections to service these areas.  This involves temporary sites that will be established for certain collection days. These will be posted at this website, at local council websites and advertised in local media.

Can we return all paint products?

The following list outlines the products that Paintback will and will not accept:


How much paint can I return?

Paintback accepts a maximum of 100 litres per visit (see example below), stowed in containers of not more than 20lt.  This is to ensure that its collection points are not overwhelmed by large volumes of waste paint quickly.  The container size limit ensures safe manual handling of the paint from your car at the collection point.


You can return:

  • Up to 5 x 20 litre paint cans
  • Up to 10 x 10 litre paint cans
  • Up to 50 X 2 litre paint cans

Is Paintback is a scheme to make more profits?

The levy funds collected goes to Paintback Ltd, which is an independent, not-for-profit organisation.

Its governing rules ensure that these funds will be used to establish and operate the collection program and research new ways to repurpose unwanted paint materials.

The funding pays to reduce the end-of-life issues with waste paint and packaging, it does not go back to the participating paint companies.

What happens to the  waste paint and packaging?

After households and trade painters take their unwanted paint and packaging to a Paintback site,it is stored at the collection point ready for Paintback to pick it up.

Paintback transports it from the collection point for treatment. The packaging and waste liquid are separated.  The containers are recycled.  Waste paint is treated in a number of ways including energy recovery for solvent and liquid/solid separation for water-based paint, significantly minimising landfill over current practices.