Paintback is a world leading industry-led scheme for collecting and treating end-of-life paint and packaging to keep it out of landfill. Households and trade painters can take their unwanted paint and packaging to a Paintback collection site where it will be taken away for treatment. You can take a maximum of 100 litres of paint in containers of up to 20 litres per visit for free. The program is funded by a 15 cent per litre levy on products sold by Australia’s major paint manufacturers, so really, you are paying a cheap price for it when you buy the paint.
Treatment involves separating the packaging and waste paint. The metal and plastic containers are recycled into new packaging materials. Water-based paint is processed and its by-products are used in applications like cement mixers, compost or as industrial water. Solvent-based paint is used as an alternative fuel source. These treatments significantly minimise landfill over current practices. Paintback also uses the levy to undertake further research into new end-of-life uses for waste paint.
Here is one of their explainer videos which I think you’ll relate to.
As it turns out the Paintback event is perfect timing for me because there are tins of old paint, varnish, and sealer left in the sheds around here that I have been wanting to deal with, and I will be in Warragul that day for the first Baw Baw Sustainability Festival.
So, I’ve scrounged around under the house and through all the sheds to gather everything together and assess whether we can reuse any of it for touch ups and future projects. That is, projects we’re likely to do, not just dream about, because that leads me to keep crap we don’t need.
Now, I have a small collection of paint that I’m keeping and the rest will be taken to Paintback for proper treatment. Most of the paint I found had solidified but if it was useful I first would’ve advertised it online as free for anyone who could use it. Currently homeowners cannot make requests to Paintback to reuse the paint they have collected but Not-For-Profit organisations can, like in this instance:
For more information about drop off locations and eligible products, I recommend starting with the Paintback FAQ page, it answered a lot of my questions.