Top paint manufacturers Dulux Group, PPG Industries, Valspar, Haymes Paint and Resene, which together produce over 90 per cent of all architectural and decorative paint sold in Australia, have introduced a groundbreaking national scheme which is expected to drastically slash landfill.
In a world first, the new Paintback® program offers both professional and home painters an easy option for disposing of unwanted paint and packaging correctly.
The five manufacturers will add 15 cents-a-litre to the wholesale price of their products. Paintback® has ACCC regulatory approval to apply this waste levy and the support of the Commonwealth, as well as State and Territory governments which have agreed to amend environmental regulations to allow trade painters to use the same scheme as DIY painters.
Trade currently cannot use government-run schemes, which target households. To dispose of paint safely they must use commercial disposal services which can cost as much as $4 a litre, says Karen Gomez, Chief Executive of Paintback Ltd, which will manage the scheme.
“The alternative is stockpiling or illegal dumping,” she says.
Paint and its packaging is one of the biggest sources of liquid waste into landfill in Australia, with our enthusiasm for property and DIY leading us to buy more than 100 million litres of paint each year. Around 5 percent of that ends up as waste, heading to landfill.
The five companies launching Paintback®, which is expected to keep an estimated 45,000 tonnes-plus out of landfill over five years, produce 28 leading brands, including Dulux, Taubmans Endure, Haymes, Resene Spacecote and Wattyl.
About 70 paint-specific Paintback® collection points will be established over the next two years – starting with 12 in capital cities through a partnership with Cleanaway, which provides the expertise and a significant national footprint to collect and treat the waste paint and packaging. Existing council waste management centres also will be invited to participate, as will other paint manufacturers.
Ms Gomez is targeting a collection service available to 85 percent of the population within five years. There will be no further charge for anyone to dispose of paint at any designated collection point.
After collection, the steel and plastic packaging will be recycled into new products.
Uses for waste paints diverted from landfill include replacing fossil fuels in energy consumption. Water is also removed from the acrylic paint and recycled, significantly reducing the volume going to landfill.
“This will be a co-ordinated, national program, but instead of government running it, the industry will,” Ms Gomez says, adding that Paintback® will also undertake a significant information and education campaign.
Paintback® will also invest in a considerable research program to find new and better uses for end-of-life paint and packaging.
“There is the potential to make a huge difference,” Ms Gomez says. “The options are limited at the moment, so it is an exciting opportunity to innovate for better environmental outcomes.”