Paint-recycling scheme Paintback is celebrating its first birthday and some remarkable milestones after just 12 months of slashing landfill.
Paintback chief executive Karen Gomez told the AAMC this week the initiative had already saved more than 1 million kilograms of unwanted paint, and expects to capture more than 45 million kgs of paint and packaging from landfill by 2021. It is looking to expand the number of collection sites from 47 to more than 100 within a year.
At the same time, the scheme is investing in research and development to identify technologies to find new ways to repurpose waste paint.
“We want to find better ways to make use of the paint we collect,” Paintback says.
The scheme aims to identify technologies that will better capture valuable resources from unwanted paint, reduce its environmental impact or turn it into something new and useful, such as building material. The goal is to recover 90 percent (by volume) of all unwanted paint and packaging collected.
Top paint manufacturers PPG Industries, Dulux Group, Valspar, Haymes Paint and Resene, which produce 28 leading brands, including British Paints, Wattyl, Taubmans, Haymes and Solver, established the groundbreaking industry-backed scheme, which offers both professional and home painters an easy option for disposing of unwanted paint and packaging correctly.
Last month, Professor Murray Scott assumed the role of independent director at Paintback, and the team expect to uncover innovative ways to repurpose the paint and other materials deposited across the nation.
Already, old paint can be recycled into new paint, or the water used in industry. Oil-based paint can replace fossil fuel as an energy source.
“It is an exciting project to be involved with,” said Ms Gomez.
“There may be completely different products combined with other materials that we have never even thought of or could understand could exist — new polymers, new building materials — that through using paint or paint materials with them brings a new lease of life to the materials and the value contained. So to me it is pretty exciting,” she said.
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 ACCC gave regulatory approval for the paint makers to add 15c-a-litre to the wholesale price of their products to fund the scheme. Rust-Oleum has since signed up to the scheme, increasing Paintback’s coverage to almost 95 percent of architectural and decorative paint sold in Australia.
Professor Scott has over 35 years experience in the field of Aerospace Engineering and has made major contributions to the development of advanced composite materials and structures. He was CEO of the CRC for Advanced Composite Structures for over 13 years and before that was a research leader from its inception in 1991 through RMIT University, of which he continues to be an Adjunct Professor.