An introduction to paint re-use

11/09/2015 Return to news archive

The focus of this year’s Zero Waste Week is re-use so we just couldn’t resist putting together a quick guide with everything we think you need to know about paint re-use in the UK.

From our research, we have estimated that each year roughly 24 million litres of the paint which is disposed of by residents at Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) is re-usable. If we add to this the paint which is left over from decorators, maintenance companies and other trade sources, along with paint that is stored in cupboards, garages and sheds across the UK then there is a huge amount of surplus, re-usable paint which is going to waste each year. This is made much worse when you consider the intensive processes involved in producing the paint in the first place and the complexity and expense of disposing of waste paint.

For over 20 years, the Community RePaint Network has been working together to tackle the issue. Since our formation we have grown to over 75 schemes that are all passionate about preventing this perfectly re-usable paint from reaching the waste stream. Our schemes will collect any surplus, re-usable paint and redistribute it within their communities to individuals and families on low income and charities and community groups. Last year alone we saved over 446,000 litres of paint from going to waste. We also work hard behind the scenes, getting involved with a number of partners including the British Coatings Federation, to highlight the issue and identify opportunities to work together to find a solution.

Not only does paint re-use benefit the environment by reducing the negative environmental impacts associated with paint production and disposal, it also has a significant impact on the people and groups who have access to the paint. Decorating and personalising a home or community space can make a huge difference to the quality of life of the people who live there or use it. Our schemes also provide jobs, training and volunteering opportunities within the community. In fact, the Network would be nothing without the employees, trainees and volunteers who run the schemes.

Sound good? Well, it gets better because there are some really easy steps that you can take to support our network:

·         Follow us, like us and share far and wide to keep up to date with all things related to the Network and help spread the word

·         Get paint from us! Find you nearest scheme here

·         Give us your leftover paint! Find your nearest donation point if you are a trader or a member of the public