Paint Recycling in New Zealand (and Elsewhere)


Been a while since we did a piece on recycled paint. In the past we’ve looked at the likes of Boomerang, Metro and Prairie—consumer based paints, mixed from discarded dregs. Resene’s PaintWise program, while not directly feeding the paint back to the retail marketplace, does at least give it a second life, via donations of workable paint to community groups. Over the past four years this product take-back project has allowed New Zealanders to dispose of their unwanted paints. Any brand can be dropped off and Resene will collect from their retail stores. The metal tins are then recycled, along with the water-based paints, which is reprocessed for use in graffiti remediation. Solvent borne paints are apparently sorted out of the mix and sent off for recovery of the solvent content. (After the fold we have links to programs in other countries.)::Resene PaintWise.


A similar service has been on offer for some time to Australians, via Sustainability Victoria’s Paintback project. But sadly this winds up on 17 July 2007. In that scheme water based paints became fencing paint and solvent paints ending up used as an energy source for the cement industry.

In Canada get information from Éco Peinture, who last year seem to have recovered 3.6 million kg (7.9 million lb) of the stuff.

Stateside try the Product Stewardship Institute, who have a special paint project, because they reckon that 34 million gallons (129 million litres) of leftover consumer paint are generated annually in the United States, and that it costs municipalities on average $8 USD per gallon to manage such leftover consumer paint.

Community Repaint is the group in Britain that should be able to point you in the right direction. For the UK they figure on approximately 82 million litres (22 million gallons) of paint being stored unused in homes or garages or just thrown away. Enough to fill 33 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

And don't neglect our broaderHow to Go Green: Recycling.