Frequently asked questions and video guides

These quick tips and video guides deal with the most common queries, for more specific advice simply choose the step of the decorating process you need help with from the menu above.

Quick tips

How can I dispose of my unwanted paint?

Using the environmental principles of reduce, reuse, recycle there are lots of ways you can mitigate environmental impacts.

Reduce the paint you buy Reduce the amount of paint you have left over by calculating exactly how much you need for your decorating. At Dulux we have created a handy paint calculator to do this for you, but if you are in store then you need to look at the back of the paint container and check the coverage per litre that the paint gives you.

Leftover paint will last longer if the tin is sealed tightly. To reseal a can of paint so that it is airtight, wipe the rim of the can clean, replace the lid, place a block of wood over the top and tap it down with a hammer. Then quickly invert the securely lidded can to form an airtight seal which will help prevent skinning.

Store leftover paint upright in a frost free environment, and keep out of sight and reach of children.

If you have any usable surplus paint, offer it to friends, local community groups or you can contact Community RePaint.

Community RePaint provides a practical solution to this waste stream that is environmentally and socially beneficial. Unwanted surplus paint is diverted from the waste stream and redistributed for re-use by community groups, charities and voluntary groups. Co-ordinated by the not-for-profit environmental consultancy Resource Futures, Community RePaint schemes collect 'half-tins' of leftover paint from donation points at some Local Authorities’ Household Waste Recycling Centres or Civic Amenity sites.

You may be able to donate paint through your Local Authority Household Waste Recycling Centre or visit www.communityrepaint.org.uk where you can enter your postcode and find your nearest Paint Donation Facility.

For responsible disposal of other waste paint call your Local Authority for guidance, as some have special facilities for disposing of paint.

Do not pour paint down drains or watercourses.

Empty paint containers can be recycled. Ask your Local Authority how this should be done as many do not want waste paint containers put into dustbins. If your containers can’t be recycled locally then dispose of them responsibly as general household waste.

Does Dulux have a sustainability / environmental policy?

Yes, Dulux as part of ICI Paints is committed to the principles of sustainable development and those of the UN Global Compact to promote responsible corporate citizenship.

In addition to the direct impact of our manufacturing operations our Sustainability Policy encompasses relationships with employees, suppliers, customers and the communities where we operate, plus stewardship across the supply chain.

Our commitments:

  • Customers - build long-term relationships with our key customers, working together to improve the sustainability performance of our business.
  • New products - develop innovative new products which have increased benefit for our customers and the environment throughout their life cycle.
  • Suppliers - build long-term relationships with our suppliers, choosing as business partners those with standards and ethical practices compatible with our own.
  • Product Stewardship - manufacture and sell only those products that can be produced, transported, stored, used and disposed of safely. Provide appropriate safety, security, health and environmental information for all who work with us, handle and use our products.
  • Product Quality - manufacture products which meet the commitments to our customers.

Our environmental performance

Our commitments: Environmental impact - conduct all our operations with respect for the environment, seeking to drive down the impact by reducing waste and emissions and using energy, water and other raw materials efficiently.

Product impact - seek to develop products with environmental benefits, and improve the environmental footprint of our products throughout their life cycle.

Our people and their health and safety

Our commitments: Employee health and safety - we ensure all activities are conducted safely to protect the health of our employees, providing any training required. However, each employee must take responsibility in preventing harm to themselves and others.

Diversity policy

Our success requires the inclusion of individuals from diverse backgrounds and those who think differently. Individuality and creativity are welcomed and appreciated and everyone must be treated fairly and honestly.

ICI Disability discrimination policy - providing an accessible and non-discriminatory working environment helps disabled people achieve equality and make a full and positive contribution. Discrimination of any disabled worked or visitor will not be tolerated.

Our external relationships

Our commitments: Social impact - Be a role model and build partnerships founded on trust and mutual advantage, within the communities in which we operate and encourage our employees to be active in local communities.

Transparency - Communicate openly and actively, encouraging dialogue on all issues relevant to this policy. Establish, publicise and deliver against challenging performance targets and report our progress in the format developed by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

Has Dulux reviewed the environmental impacts of its operations?

We are committed to managing the safety, health and environmental (SHE) aspects associated with our products throughout their life cycle in a responsible and ethical way, as expected by our customers and the community within which we operate.

We maintain SHE data on our raw materials and carry out regular assessments of our products and activities, focussing on ensuring continued safe use of our products and making progress on the main environmental issues:

  • Emissions of VOCs during product use
  • End of life non-hazardous waste incl. packaging

The regular assessments are carried out in an Annual SHE Review of our Products and Business Activities. Each annual review involves our formulating chemists and our product stewardship/toxicology specialists meeting and agreeing a SHE risk assessment for each raw material type, as used in the full range of finished products. For each raw material, we confirm its current status in terms of hazard (based on our continuous monitoring of available toxicological data), assess the risks to human health and the environment at the level the raw material is used in our products, decide on a detailed policy/target for whether we continue using it or plan for replacement, and finally agree any actions required to achieve that position.

Has Dulux reduced its impact on the environment?

Yes, Dulux conducts all its operations with respect for the environment, seeking to drive down the impact by reducing waste and emissions and using energy, water and other raw materials efficiently.

As ICI Paints we have been influential in lobbying for the introduction of VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) regulations in Europe and all our paints meet the requirements of the EU directive 2004/42/EC. We met the 2007 requirements in 2006 and we plan to meet the 2010 standards well before the deadline. Dulux also promotes the use of water-based substitutes, offering alternatives in all major finishes.

We have reduced CO2 and greenhouse gases.

Between 2000 and 2005 we achieved the following environmental improvements:

  • Energy use down by 13%
  • Greenhouse gases down by 18%
  • Water use down by 17%
  • Hazardous substances to the air down by 63%
  • Ozone generators down by 67%
  • Ozone depletors down by 25%

We have been using biodiesel in some of our delivery fleet for over 12 months. Currently 25% of our fleet mileage utilises a biodiesel fuel mixture. The primary feedstock for this biodiesel is oilseed rape, sourced, where possible, from UK farmers.

Our supplier quantifies the CO2 emissions saved by using biodiesel and this is independently assessed by the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management.

Over the past 5 years we have also been aiming to reduce CO2 emissions and miles per gallon consumption by careful selection of our company vehicles. Since the year 2000 we have reduced the average fuel consumption per vehicle by 33%. We have recently completed a project entitled 'Green Fleet Review' with the Energy Savings Trust.

  • Our fleet's carbon footprint
  • Fuel economy
  • Driver education
  • Reducing mileage
  • Health and safety, and Duty of Care issues

The review highlighted that we have saved a total of 1.2 million fleet miles in 2007 compared to 2006 and a further 800,000 miles from company car travel.

How are Dulux reducing the impact of packaging on the environment?

Dulux initiated and achieved a significant packaging weight reduction by introducing fully wrapped distribution in the UK. By this, pallets of product that are delivered into store are no longer stacked on top of each other and therefore the packaging does not need to withstand the additional pressure and is now lighter weight, using less material.

We continue to look for ways to reduce packaging weight with our packaging suppliers.

We are investigating greater use of recycled polymers in plastic containers.

All our packaging complies with the Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations in terms of maximum levels of heavy metals.

How are Dulux reducing the volume of waste sent to landfill?

Waste paint and packaging has a major impact on our environment. Community RePaint has been supported and sponsored by ICI Paints since its inception in 1993 and forms part of ICI Paints' product stewardship programme.

Community RePaint is an award-winning UK network of community-based paint reuse schemes. Individual schemes collect 'half-tins' of leftover paint which is then redistributed to local charities, community and voluntary groups and individuals in social need.

Dulux factories and distribution centres also have active programmes for waste minimisation.

How can I make environmentally friendly choices when buying and using paint?

Today the biggest environmental issue facing the paint industry is that of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions and their contribution to air pollution, or more simply, the effect of solvents contained in paints on the air that we breathe. Choosing water-based paints over solvent-based alternatives is one way you can minimise the emissions from decorating.

What is the difference between water-based and solvent-based products?

Solvent-based products typically contain high levels of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) and were traditionally for use on wood and metal surfaces, giving a glossy finish but associated with longer drying times and a strong smell, However, water-based products have typically low levels of VOC and have come along way over recent years, with many companies offering a water-based paint equivalent to a solvent-based option. The benefits of a water-based product includes quicker drying times, less smell, and easier cleaning up with brushes and rollers being able to be rinsed with water rather than white spirit, making the whole decorating process more environmentally friendly.

Washing solvent-based paint from brushes required the use of white spirit or solvent-based brush cleaners, which in themselves release VOCs when used, and are difficult to dispose of because of their hazardous nature. Therefore, using water-based paints, where brushes can be washed in soapy water, can further reduce the environmental impact of decorating.

Which Dulux products are water-based?
What are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)?

Decorative paints and related products are inherently beneficial to the environment, by preserving and protecting surfaces such as wood, and enhancing the aesthetics and enjoyment of living and working environments. However, these products contain chemicals and so we need to be aware of and manage the associated environmental risks.

Today the biggest environmental issue facing the paint industry is that of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions and their contribution to air pollution, or more simply, the effect of solvents contained in paints on the air that we breathe.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that will evaporate easily into the air usually at room temperature and often give a distinctive smell. They are emitted from many sources including fuels, numerous industrial operations and household products such as cleaning agents, cosmetics, aerosols and paints. They can accelerate the rate nitrogen oxides (from combustion processes) react with sunlight to create low level ozone and photochemical smog, which contributes to air pollution.

Even though less than 2% of all man-made VOCs in Europe come from decorative paint, Dulux have long implemented a voluntary industry agreement for carrying out VOC reductions in products and for displaying VOC content information on product labels. This is to encourage customers to choose products with lower VOC content.

The globe label (shown right), as initiated by B&Q, is the voluntary label which Dulux uses on all its products

Now official UK legislation, based on EU directive 2004/42/EC, is in place and covers coatings applied to buildings, their trim and fittings and associated structures when applied for decorative, functional and protective purposes. This directive is a two stage process setting upper limits for the amount of VOCs allowed in products. The first stage, for which Dulux is fully compliant, started in January 2007. The second stage starts in 2010, when even stricter limits will be applied, meaning major changes to traditional solvent-based coatings such as products for wood and metal.

What is the best way to environmentally clean brushes and rollers?

Cleaning paints out of brushes and rollers uses substantial amount of water or solvent. If you need to reuse the brush/roller again for the same job then an alternative to washing them is to place them in an airtight plastic bag, applying masking tape around the handle to keep the air out. This will keep the equipment supple over-night.

Washing solvent-based paint from brushes required the use of white spirit or solvent-based brush cleaners, which in themselves release VOCs when used, and are more difficult to dispose of because of their hazardous nature. Therefore, choosing water-based paints, where brushes can be washed in soapy water, can further reduce the environmental impact of decorating.

Cleaning water based paint. Then, with water-based paints, wash brushes with clean water or a solution of warm water and detergent.

Cleaning solvent based paint. For solvent-based paints, clean with Polycell Brush Cleaner or a specialist brush cleaner. These are more efficient than white spirit resulting in less solvent emissions. Always use a container only slightly larger than the brush itself as this helps to minimise solvent usage. The container should also have a tightly fitting lid to enable dirty solvents to settle. The clean solvent can then be poured back into the original bottle for re-use and the sediment left to dry before disposal.

Don't pour paint or white spirit down the drain as the chemicals they contain can disperse and contaminate the water supply.

How should I deal with old paint that may contain lead?

If you live in an older property, the wood and metal surfaces may have been decorated in the past with an old type of paint that contained lead. Lead can be hazardous particularly for pregnant women and where young children are present. We provide information on our product labels to make our customers aware of this.

As removing lead paint may prove to be difficult and dangerous, Dulux recommend that you employ the services of a reputable professional decorator to do this. Use a professional Dulux-approved decorator and we will guarantee their work.

Is the Dulux Colour Guide made from recycled material?

No, due to colour accuracy reasons we are unable to create the Colour Guide using recycled paper, however we work closely with our printers to ensure that waste is minimised. In addition the paper used has been PEFC certified.

Once you've finished with our Colour Guide you can recycle it as you would any other magazine, or pass it on to a friend to use.

What does PEFC stand for on the back of the Colour Guide?

PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes) is the world’s foremost and largest certification programme for sustainable forest management.

PEFC is your assurance that wood for paper and timber products comes from forests that are sustainably managed.

The logo indicates that the paper used in the Dulux Colour Guide contains at least 70% certified material.

Only products which contain at least 70% PEFC certified material can be labelled with the PEFC logo. This is the highest minimum level set by any international forest certification system for the use of its label.

Can the Dulux Colour Guide be recycled?

Yes you can recycle the Colour Guide. If you don't have a kerb side collection that takes magazines then visit www.recyclenow.com to find your nearest recycling centre.

Alternatively, why not give the Colour Guide to a friend who is decorating?

Expert help Expert help

Expert help

Our team of professional interior designers will help you with all aspects of a design, including.

  • Full design schemes with colours and furniture
  • Inspiration and advice
  • Sourcing and buying materials
  • Full project managemnt
Dulux Design Service
Total:
Checkout