Australians buy more than 100 million litres of paint each year but around 5% of it ends up as waste, making paint and its packaging one of the biggest source of liquid waste into landfill.
A world first program launched today aims to change that situation by offering professional and home painters an easy option for disposing of unwanted paint and packaging correctly. It expects to keep more than 45,000 tonnes out of landfill over the next five years. Paintback® is the first unified national scheme developed and implemented by the industry. To fund it, Dulux Group, PPG Industries, Valspar, Haymes Paint and Resene – which produce more than 90% of all architectural and decorative paint sold in Australia – will add 15c-a-litre to the wholesale price of their products. Other manufacturers also will be invited to participate.
Paintback® has ACCC regulatory approval to apply the waste levy and the support of Commonwealth, State and Territory governments. States and Territories have agreed to amend environmental regulations to allow trade painters to use the same scheme as DIY painters. “The trade currently cannot use government-run schemes, which target households, so to dispose of paint safely they must use commercial disposal services, which can cost as much as $4 a litre,” said Karen Gomez, the CEO of Paintback Ltd, which will manage the scheme. “The alternative is stockpiling or illegal dumping.”
With Paintback®, there will be no further charge for anyone to dispose of paint at any designated collection point. About 70 paint-specific 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. “We aim to offer a collection service to 85% of the population within five years,” Ms Gomez said. “This will be a co-ordinated, national program, but instead of government running it, the industry will.” “We also will be undertaking a significant information and education campaign because there is the potential to make a huge difference.” Stage one of the roll-out, which begins this week, will establish locations in every State and Territory before end of the year. Stage two will move to major regional centres in 2017. The industry also will fund research to find better uses for unwanted paint. Uses for waste paints diverted from landfill include replacing fossil fuels in energy consumption. The steel and plastic packaging is also recycled into new products. “The options are limited at the moment, so it is an exciting opportunity to innovate for better environmental outcomes,” Ms Gomez said. The five companies launching Paintback® produce 28 leading brands, including Dulux, Taubmans Endure, Haymes, Resene Spacecote and Wattyl.