The global paint manufacturer has teamed up with design agency Seymourpowell to improve the process of recycling used paint. Working in partnership, both companies believe they have identified a new technology that could be commercially scaled up.

Part of the project saw both companies work with two existing paint-recycling enterprises – Newlife Paints and Castle RePaint Scotland.
Three main challenges were identified – collecting used paint, selling recycled paint and reprocessing used paint.

It is estimated that the average UK household has 17 half empty or unused tins of paint in storage, so there is a significant task in getting these back. There are also issues around brand reputation and customer perception of quality in recycled new paint.

The third challenge of reprocessing is perhaps the most interesting and has formed the initial focus for Seymourpowell’s design work as significant progress needs to be made here to make it commercially viable.

To this end, the design agency has identified a process which halves the decant time of old paint so greatly improving the recycling process.

According to Seymourpowell’s head of sustainability, Chris Sherwin, this could dramatically scale-up the process making it more viable for businesses facing rising costs on raw materials.

AkzoNobel is looking seriously into the viability of recycling paint. In the UK alone, over 300 million litres of paint are bought each year, with as much as 15% going to waste, in the majority of cases ending up in landfill.

Combined with the rising costs of raw materials required to make paint, such as titanium dioxide, there is a pressing business case to explore cost effective methods of recycling paint.

Maxine Perella

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