A stroke of paint genius

A stroke of paint genius

When it comes to environmental sustainability the paint industry certainly has a lot to consider. Paint company Resene however has been chipping away at various sustainability and community initiatives for quite some time and its latest environmental accreditation has earned it a Kiwi first.

Its PaintWise recyling and education programme, launched in 2004, has earned accreditation as a product stewardship scheme — the first accreditation for a paint recycling programme and only the sixth product stewardship scheme accredited by environment minister Nick Smith. Products under the scheme are only accredited after  they have been thoroughly assessed to ensure reductions in environmental harm have been met.

The PaintWise programme involves recycling unused paint, much of which is often redistributed to community groups for use. Originally launched in 2004, the scheme became nationwide in mid 2007 and in 2011, the programme reached quite the milestone with over one million packs returned.

“We’re very proud to receive accreditation for the Resene PaintWise service,” Resene’s managing director Nick Nightingale said. “It’s a welcome reward for all the effort Resene and 3R Group staff have put in over the years to make the PaintWise service a success.”

But that’s not all that’s happening in the Resene camp at the moment. Taking its recycling ethos one step further, the company has also started to use 100 percent post consumer recycled paint pails made out of plastic Resene pails collected from the PaintWise service. Pails being returned to the PaintWise service are being washed and reprocessed into ‘new’ Resene paint pails using a custom design process developed in New Zealand. The concept is so new the plant needed to run the process had to be designed and built from the ground up.

The company says there’s also no limit when it comes to the number of times a paint pail can be recycled.

At a Sustainable Business Network conference earlier this year, Resene’s technical director Colin Gooch said Resene operated off the smell of a oily rag when he first came on board in the early days of the company. It operated sustainably not out of choice but out of necessity. Now he joked, it’s sustainable by choice and wins awards for it.

If you fancy getting involved in the programme, you need not only come with Resene branded paint. Any brand of paint and packaging can be brought into one of the Resene ColorShops designated PaintWise Collection centres during opening hours.

Good quality Resene paint is provided free to community groups, waterborne paint is used for other applications such as covering graffiti, solventborne paint goes through a solvent recovery program and packaging is recycled. Already over 100,000 litres of paint has been donated.

Community groups can apply for donations of paint from the Resene PaintWise program online at or complete and return the Community Paint Registration Form available from Resene

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