Owning their impact by:

Recycling millions of litres of paint each year

  • Type: Not For Profit organisation
  • Based: Australia-wide (18 collection points in WA)

By 2021, Paintback aims to collect, divert and recycle 45 million kilograms of unwanted paint and packaging from landfill.

What was their motivation?

Did you know: Paint is one of the biggest sources of landfill in Australia, with an estimated 7.3 million litres of unused paint thrown away every year?

In 2016 leaders of the paint industry embarked on a journey to take responsibility for the large volumes of paint (a solvent, and therefore a hazardous material) and associated packaging (largely recyclable) entering landfill.

The result was Paintback. This world-first initiative collects excess paint tins from householders and professional painters via dedicated drop-off points then uses the leftover paint as an energy source and recycles the empty tubs and tins. Pretty clever stuff!

Tins of old paint

What are they doing?

  1. Paintback collects excess paint. The 18 WA drop-off points will accept up to 100L per person, per visit!
  2. They process it. Paintback’s liquid treatment facilities sort water-based and oil-based paints as well as separating the tins and tubs it comes in.
  3. They recycle. Once the paint is extracted all of those tubs and tins are recycled, ensuring resources aren’t lost to landfill.
  4. They treat it. Water-based paints are treated and reused as compost feedstock and as greywater in industrial processes – a better alternative to freshwater!
  5. They reuse it. Oil-based paints are treated to provide alternative energy to power some of Australia’s largest manufacturers.

What impact is Paintback making?

  • > 1 million kilograms of paint and packaging has been saved from landfill in WA in just 2 years (and nationally it’s around 7 million kilograms)!
  • It’s saving WA local councils and shires money – the Paintback scheme, supported by a levy, funds the collection and treatment of all unwanted paint and packaging.

What does the future hold for Paintback?

By 2022 Paintback aims for 85% of Australian households to be located within 40km a collection site and to have recycled 45 million kilograms of unwanted paint.

Paintback is also investing in research and development to achieve 100% diversion from landfill for water-based paint and plastic packaging.

How can you get on board?

We all have leftover paint. It’s time to venture into the shed or the back of the garage, take stock of what you don’t need and deal with it responsibly.

  • Gather them up – Paintback accepts sealers, undercoats, varnishes and dried paint but not aerosols or resins – check their list of eligible household products before you leave home.
  • Visit one of the 16 permanent WA collection sites (including those in, Broome, Port Hedland, Karratha, Kalgoorlie and across the South West) or one of the mobile collection events run in partnership with some local councils.

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