Resource Use

UK's first paint remanufacturing hub opened in Cambridgeshire

First UK paint remanufacturing hub opened in CambridgeshireA UK paint remanufacturing hub for social reuse was launched in Cambridgeshire Friday (11 December) by paint manufacturer AkzoNobel alongside the Community RePaint network.

The hub, located at the Cambridgeshire Community Reuse and Recycling Network (CCORRN) in March, Cambridgeshire, was formally opened by the MP for North East Cambridgeshire, Steven Barclay, with other representatives. It will enable leftover, surplus or end of life paint to be collected and then remanufactured into new containers, with certain additions to ensure its longevity and quality.

The hub will act as a pilot for a new remanufacturing process that has been developed by NewLife Paints Ltd. By the end of 2017, AkzoNobel and Community RePaint intend to have four hubs across the UK, processing around 500,000 litres of paint a year.

The Cambridgeshire remanufacturing hub has plans to triple its capacity, collecting and remanufacturing a range of emulsions in neutral and pastel shades. This new remanufactured paint will then be sold at a low cost (up to £2 per litre) for use on community buildings, education and play facilities, youth services, playgrounds and homes.

Each year in the UK, up to 50 million litres of paint is thrown away, mostly ending up in landfill or incinerated due to local authorities regarding it as a hazardous waste. The majority of this paint is leftover or surplus to requirements from residents, paint manufacturers, DIY retailers, maintenance companies and waste contractors.

According to the Community RePaint network, over 50 per cent of wasted paint is reusable, and currently 75 Community RePaint schemes across the UK work to collect some of this paint and make it available for social reuse through community groups and families on low incomes.

Last month, the British Coatings Confederation’s PaintCare initiative launched its ‘Creating a circular economy for leftover decorative paint in the UK’ report, in which it set out a number of recommendations for removing barriers to redistributing and remanufacturing unused paint, including a call for all household waste recycling centres to accept liquid paint as a recycling stream.  

An ‘exciting next step’ for the paint industry to become more sustainable

Martin Pearse, Community RePaint Network Manager said: ““Leftover paint is a challenge for our industry due to its volume and disposal cost. But with our new remanufacturing hub, we are able to show how such paint can be transformed with the value captured and put to social good.

“This is an exciting next step for the wider paint industry as it continues its progress towards becoming more sustainable.”

David Cornish, AkzoNobel’s Global Sustainability Manager, added: “AkzoNobel is delighted that after a lot of hard work by all involved, the first Community RePaint remanufacturing centre is now operational in the UK.

“This is a major milestone in our 22-year relationship with Community RePaint, which will allow them to reuse even more leftover paint to brighten up local communities.

“In the future we aim to increase the number of these hubs across the UK, helping to save valuable resources and create a more circular economy for the paint industry.”

Community RePaint is managed by environmental consultancy Resource Futures. Sam Reeve, Operations Director and soon-to-be CEO, at Resource Futures, said: “We are delighted that the remanufacturing hub is now open and at the same time, ringing in the changes both for the paint and resource management industries.

“It is a first step towards a more circular economy for paint. Such developments don’t need to be big to start with; it’s the small actions that often have better impact that can be built on. It’s also a fantastic example of collaboration between several partners to deliver positive change.”

More information on Community RePaint can be found at the programme’s website.