Paintback: taking back to give back


Have you got any partially filled paint tins hiding in the dark corners of your garage or shed? For many households, businesses and public facilities the answer is yes.

Until recently there weren't too many options when it came to responsible disposal of unused paint.  In 2016 Australian paint manufacturers got together and developed an initiative to take responsibility for their end of life paint. The outcome: Paintback.

Paintback is all about transforming the 'colourful past of paint into the brighter future of responsible paint reuse through innovation and research & development'. Paintback provides a number of disposal and recycling solutions for unwanted paint through collection depots, and clever partnerships with like-minded organisations. This means that steel tin packaging is recycled, and solvent-based paint can have an ongoing life as an alternative fuel to coal – producing cleaner emissions and reducing environmentally harmful green house gases.

To get the ball rolling Paintback started with building a collection network. Somewhere for the consumers and trade painters to take their paint when finished. It’s an exciting model where industry is bringing stakeholders together and creating ownership at all parts of the paint life journey.

Monash Council was first to come on board to support the initiative with collection sites, and currently provides the highest volume of paint.

Paintback is also collaborating with BASF and Monash University on a PhD project to develop formulations that can support the use of unwanted water-based paints in various products and to extract valuable components from unwanted water-based paints. 

With its proximity to the industrial eco-system of major paint manufacturers, nearby are Dulux, PPG stakeholders and its early adoption of programs such as the Collection Waste project – the City of Monash was an ideal fit for Paintback’s R&D base. The added benefit of working in a space with other innovative collaborators provides freer thinking and sharper ideas.

Productivity and innovation tend to go up when collaborating – these are just some of the reasons that Paintback R&D decided to call Eastern Innovation in Mulgrave their home.


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Last updated: 03 October 2019