Paint not, waste not: Paintback provides solution to waste problem
Australians buy more that 100 million litres of paint every year. With five percent of it ending up as waste, paint and its packaging makes up one of the biggest sources of liquid waste in our landfills.
A world-first scheme to tackle this issue was launched last year in the form of Paintback, a unified national scheme developed and implemented by the paint industry and supported by state and territory governments. Paintback offers professional and home painters an easy option for disposing of unwanted paint and packaging correctly.
To fund the program, paint producers Dulux Group, PPG Industries, Valspar, Resene and Haymes Paint, which produce more than 90 percent of all architectural and decorative paint sold in Australia, have added 15 cents a litre to the wholesale price of their products. There is no further charge for anyone disposing of paint at any of the designated collection points around the country.
In the year since the roll-out of the scheme, Paintback has established 47 collection sites spanning every state and territory in Australia, and located within 20 kilometres of 60 percent of the population. Paintback chairman Jim Liaskos says, “This is a great result so far, with the number of collection sites and the amount of unwanted paint and packaging we divert from landfill continuing to rapidly grow.
“Our achievements to date are a testament to the collaboration between paint manufacturers, hardware and specialist retailers, government, industry representatives and our partners across the supply chain. It’s a great demonstration of the good that can come about when an industry and its stakeholders share the vision and commitment to do the right thing to benefit the community and the environment,” Liaskos says.
Since its commencement in May 2016, Paintback has collected over one million kilograms of unwanted paint and packaging across Australia, has established 47 permanent collection sites and three mobile collection events. The goal is by 2021 to collect and treat 45 million kilograms of unwanted paint and packaging.
To meet these targets, Paintback are seeking to raise awareness of their services and motivate people to use it. “We’re investing in communication and education to drive awareness and change behaviour,” Liaskos says. “Our goal is to make it normal for people to want to take their paint back, rather than stockpile it or throw it away into the environment.”
Paintback’s ambitions don’t stop there. In the next two to three year, it will continue to establish permanent collection sites across Australia, providing service to within 20km of 85 percent of the population and 40 kilometres in regional areas. It will also run mobile collection events in areas that don’t have the infrastructure to support a permanent site.
“We want to find better ways to make use of the paint we collect,” Liaskos says. “We’re investing in research 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.
“Our aim is to recover 90 percent (by volume) of all unwanted paint and packaging collected.”
For more information or for collection locations, visit paintback.com.au.
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