25 years of UK paint reuse yields enough paint to cover the Burj Khalifa ten times over

5 March 2019

Community RePaint, run by Resource Futures, celebrated 25 years of paint recycling in 2018.

The network of paint reuse schemes, which was founded in 1993 as a small pilot project in Leeds and is now solely sponsored by Dulux, has diverted over 5.5 million litres of paint from the waste stream across the UK – more than ten times the amount needed to decorate the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.[i]

From humble beginnings, 433,250 litres of reusable paint were collected by schemes in 2018 with 317,600 redistributed to individuals and groups and 67,000 litres of paint remanufactured.

Despite this success, consumers face a postcode lottery as to whether their leftover paint can be reused locally. While there are 65 active schemes in operation, there are still large gaps of coverage across the UK, which the network hopes to address going forward. Key targets in 2019 include London, Birmingham and Scotland.

“We’ve achieved a lot in 25 years, but there is still a long way to go,” said Martin Pearse, Community RePaint Network Project Manager. “Our data tells us 40 litres of paint are wasted from UK homes every minute, when it could be reused and repurposed to support affordable community schemes and projects nationwide. That means we need schemes nation-wide and we can offer a win-win for local authorities who want to save money and prevent paint going to waste at the same time.”

The Community RePaint model is based on schemes supported by Resource Futures but operated locally by community organisations ideally in conjunction with local authorities. The schemes collect left-over paint, remanufacture or reuse it and redistribute to benefit individuals, families, communities and charities in need at an affordable cost.

“Dulux have been delighted to support the Community RePaint network since its inception and are proud to have been the sole sponsor of the network since 2008,” said Paul Murgett, sustainability marketing manager at Akzo Nobel. “In that time, Community RePaint, with our support, has launched ReColour, a remanufactured paint brand, which is produced at two of the largest Community RePaint schemes for community benefit. It is a reflection of our commitment to resource efficiency and the communities in which we operate.”

“Community run schemes can be highly effective in the waste sector, but they still need support and investment to get off the ground,” said Sam Reeve, CEO at Resource Futures. “The 25 year anniversary of Community RePaint coincides with the Government’s 25 year environment plan, which targets zero avoidable waste by 2050 and we have every opportunity to avoid this large scale waste of paint.”


[i] According to Paint and Coatings Industry, 487,000 litres of paint were used to decorate and protect the Burj Khalifa https://www.pcimag.com/articles/90221-jotun-paint-protects-world-s-tallest-building