Community RePaint network
Martin Pearse, Network Manager
Address: Resource Futures, The CREATE Centre, Smeaton Road, Bristol, BS1 6XN, UK Phone: 0117 914 3450
WHERE: United Kingdom
WHEN: Starting 1993
WASTE MANAGEMENT HIERARCHY: Recycling: Reuse – Reprocessing
TYPE OF INSTRUMENT: Voluntary and Promotional
WASTE STREAMS: Hazardous – Paints
About: Community RePaint is a UK wide paint reuse network, formed in 1993, based on the model of a successful pilot project (“Waste Wagon”) conducted in Leeds in 1992, which was addressed to household hazardous waste.
The Community RePaint network is sponsored by Dulux paint manufacturing company and run on a day to day basis by Resource Futures, an environmental consultancy company. Currently the network is made up of over 74 schemes and redistributes over 300,000 liters of paint each year. The schemes are not identical, varying in size, operational set up and motivational drivers, but they all have the same vision, to create communities where everyone has the opportunity to brighten their spaces and lives.
Community RePaint schemes accept leftover paint from individuals (through drop off points) and from commercial and trade sources. Retailers, manufacturers, decorators or businesses with leftover, reusable paint, can use the network schemes, which is a more economical and sustainable option in comparison to leftover paint sending for disposal.
The process is very simple: once receiving details of leftover paint from the paint holder, network representatives identify the nearest suitable scheme. The scheme representatives then contact the paint holder to organize the paint collection and discuss other details.
Beautiful mural made out of leftover paint at Slough and Eton School
Photo Source: twitter.com/Comm_RePaint
The Community RePaint network aims to collect the leftover paint and redistribute it for the benefit of individuals, families, communities and charities in need, at an affordable cost.
The medium-term objective reveals an ambitious target – to increase their redistribution to over 1.5 million liters of paint in 2020, which will be allowing the coloring of over 1 million lives across the UK.
Resource Futures – project coordinator
Resource Futures is an independent environmental consultancy business, working in partnership with a range of clients from local authorities and government bodies to small businesses and multi-national companies, as well as third sector organizations and community groups. Resource Futures is an employee-owned, non-profit-distributing company, with a 25-year heritage of environmental improvement, and is a certified B-Corp.
Dulux – project sponsor: Dulux is the UK’s leading paint brand and believes that color can have a positive impact on people’s lives. It aims to inspire people to create beautiful living spaces and offers a range of paints and services to achieve this. Dulux is committed to creating a brighter future by delivering more value from fewer resources across its supply chain, operations and beyond.
The „ENVACTCARB” project was successful: the objective to develop a technology to process the xylite (waste) into activated carbon was reached. The prototype, which has a capacity of 50 tonnes/year, works correctly and the carbon is of satisfactory quality to enter the market. The technology was homologated, and the basic calculations were made available for the technological and economic parts.
Urban metabolism relevance
Hazardous Waste is a waste type which contains a hazardous property – it is explosive, flammable or toxic. It can be found in small or large quantities in several products such as cleaning products, batteries, paints, pesticides, compact fluorescent light bulbs and WEEE.
Due to its great environment and human health risks, higher than in case of other wastes, it is essential to prevent and reduce the amount of hazardous waste thrown away (including paint waste).
According to the European Parliament Research Service briefing of July 2015, waste paints and solvents are one of the main sources of hazardous waste. It is estimated that 61% of the 1.6 million tonnes generated every year are recycled or undergo energy recovery.
The disposal of solvents (and of other substances, such as titanium dioxide, used as an opacifier
in paints and other products) is regulated by the 2010 Industrial Emissions Directive.
In UK, an estimated 50 million litres of the 320 million litres of paint sold each year go to waste. This paint is either thrown away or stored in homes or garages despite over 50% of it still being usable.
Photo Source: European Week for Waste Reduction 2018
From the very beginning, Community RePaint project had several innovation stages :
1. The initial project („Waste Wagon”), on whose model the Community RePaint network is based on, has been carried out in 1992. It revealed that people tend to store large volumes of leftover, reusable paint in their sheds, garages and cupboards.
As part of the project, this leftover paint was collected from householders, along with other DIY materials and hazardous items. At the end of the project, the paint was given to local charities and groups, which highlighted the demand for affordable paint amongst these organizations, as well as a need amongst individuals and families on low income.
2. The model for the Community RePaint network was born from these 2 activities – the collection and redistribution of leftover paint. It was established by Resource Futures with support from Dulux who became project’s sole sponsor since 2008.
The first 2 Community RePaint schemes were set up in Leeds and Ealing in 1993. At present, it has expanded to 74 schemes covering all corners of the United Kingdom.
3. In 2015, the network launched their first paint remanufacturing centre at their scheme in March, Cambridgeshire, which was quickly followed by their 2nd on the Wirral in 2016.
The remanufacturing centres have allowed them to take the next step in paint reuse – reprocessing more leftover paint, ensuring its quality and longevity, and then making it available in new Community RePaint branded containers to community organizations (especially those with premises to decorate) and families on low incomes. The remanufactured paint is now available at some of the schemes or can be ordered directly from the website .
Engaged participatory processes
The project engages the community as follows:
a) The leftover reused paint helps local groups and charities refresh shared spaces and create colorful murals for the community;
b) Enables people on low income to redecorate their homes at low cost;
c) Provides employment, training and volunteer opportunities building valuable skills and experience.
Community RePaint also works with a whole range of retailers, manufacturers and businesses, at a national and local level, to divert reusable paint from disposal.
Sustainability and replicability
Schemes typically request a processing fee for accepting leftover paint. This covers their collection and operational costs and varies between schemes. However, any charges are considerably less than the cost of hazardous waste disposal.
The schemes are functioning easily, based on 2 interests:
1) „I Need Paint”:
The schemes included in the network can provide part and full containers of affordable, leftover paint to individuals, groups and organizations. As all the schemes are different, everyone interested has to find the nearest scheme and visit their page for more information.
Also, Community RePaint can supply large quantities of paint (over 60 liters) at an affordable price.
2) „I Have Leftover Paint”:
From Home: If people have leftover paint at home, they can pass it on to Community RePaint schemes via drop off points, as the schemes cannot accept paint directly from individuals. From these points, the schemes collect the paint and prepare it for its next user. The searching process for the nearest drop off point is very simple and can be made just by typing the searcher’s postcode into the search box.
From Business: Community RePaint schemes accept leftover paint from commercial and trade sources (retailers, manufacturers, decorators or businesses with leftover and reusable paint), as it is a more economical and sustainable option than disposal.
Some of the success factors of Community RePaint schemes are also advantages that drive organizations and people to use the network:
– The project prevents a valuable resource from going to waste;
– Reduces the paint disposal costs;
– Improves the organizations’ green credentials;
– Offers benefits to local communities;
– Generates positive stories about the participating organizations.
As a major success factor, Community RePaint has won ‘Best Community Recycling Initiative at the Awards for Excellence in Recycling & Waste Management, based on its key successes in 2016. Organized by letsrecycle.com, The Awards for Excellence in Recycling & Waste Management recognizes and rewards those striving for excellence across the waste, resource and recycling sector.
Photo Source: twitter.com/Comm_RePaint
One of the biggest challenges for a scheme enrolled in the Community RePaint is becoming financially sustainable – ideally, the scheme should constantly be aiming to reduce its reliance on any grant funding. To help achieve this goal, Community RePaint schemes are encouraged to charge for both collecting and redistributing paint.
The information presented above was taken from public sources, and assessed by UrbanWINS experts according to the project requirements, field research, deductions and analytical process. Key assumptions and projections may deviate from the opinions presented by author, this may typically be the result of differing time horizons, methodologies, contexts or other factors.
We do not assume any rights or guarantees, the sources of all data can be found in the „References” section, in the document. At the time of publishing, we did not received a point of view from the owners/beneficiaries of the practice (although have been requested an official position to the authors, via e-mail), and it can be withdrawn simply by email notification.
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