Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Paint used on construction projects

Paint used in the construction trades

What you must do

Storing paint

Put the lids securely back on containers holding materials that may evaporate, such as thinners or solvent-based paints. This may help to save you money and will reduce the risk of spills.

Applying paint

If you are spraying paint, make sure that the mist cannot be blown onto neighbouring properties by the wind.

If you are using petrol or diesel powered paint spraying equipment you may need to comply with the Oil Storage Regulations.

Oil storage

Disposing of paint

Do not pour waste products such as paint or solvent-based cleaning products into drains as this can cause water pollution.

Reuse solvents and cleaning fluids after paint has settled out of them.

Dispose of paint sediment safely and properly in accordance with the duty of care. Seek advice from your environmental regulator.

Check whether any of your paint or other materials has a hazard label on the packaging. This will help you to determine whether these materials will need to be disposed of as hazardous/special waste.

You must not dispose of liquid wastes to landfill. Before you decide to dispose of surplus paint, assess whether you can use it elsewhere.

If you are disposing of tins containing water-based paint or paint residue, store them securely, remove the lids and allow the paint to harden before disposal.

If you are disposing of tins containing solvent-based paint or paint residue, contact your waste disposal contractor and discuss whether these can be recycled or disposed of in an environmentally sensitive manner.

Community Re>Paint run a paint recycling scheme.

Community RePaint

Washing your equipment

If you are working within an existing domestic property and are, for example, washing brushes in the sink, the dirty water will not require an additional consent if the property is connected to the mains sewerage.

If you want to discharge paints, solvents or other materials to a drain, watercourse or to sewer you will need authorisation.

Discharges to water or sewer

Liquids used for cleaning paintbrushes and other equipment must not be allowed to enter surface water drains, (such as those taking roof water) or road drains, or to soak into the ground.

Lead-based paints

Wastes from the removal of lead-based paints can be harmful to the environment and to human health. Make sure that you dispose of them correctly.

Hazardous / special waste

Contact the Health and Safety Executive or the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland for further information about working with lead-based materials.

Health and Safety Executive

Health and Safety Executive (Northern Ireland)

Further information

Chemical storage


SEE ALSO: Chemical storage

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