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Published: 2004-12-16 00:00:00

Environment Waikato has granted $20,000 towards a new collection system for unused and unwanted paint.

The Resene Foundation is setting up the collection system in Hamilton, Tauranga and Auckland, progressively delivering its “Paintwise” programme throughout New Zealand. The Foundation is a charitable trust created to provide funding to hospices from any surpluses generated from the Paintwise programme.

Recovered paint is decanted and re-used, with the cans and plastic pails also recovered. About 15 percent of the paint is good enough to be given to local community organisations which can apply on-line for it.

Environment Committee Chairman Paula Southgate said local authorities and ordinary people were increasingly demanding solutions for recovering hazardous wastes and paint was a major feature of ‘Hazmobile’ collections and landfill transfer stations. The Paintwise service would reduce the need for paint collection services provided by local authorities, which did not provide for re-use, recycling or benefit community groups.

The Foundation projected recovering about 30,000 litres of paint in Hamilton in the first year, with about 4500 litres of useable paint available free to community groups, representing $45,000 in value returned to the community.

The Foundation was seeking start-up funding but the aim was to progressively have a user-pays service in place to eliminate the need for public funding. Future funding would come from a Paintwise recovery fee on each litre of Resene paint sold and a small charge for handling other brand paint cans.

Total cost of the programme is $500,000 for the collection truck and bin system and an operating budget.

She said the programme was an example of a major New Zealand company taking responsibility for its product and competitors’ products beyond point of sale. It could be a forerunner of other programmes where companies accept that responsibility for disposal is part of their ongoing business.

The programme was non-profit, with any proceeds donated to a worthy social cause. The Environmental Initiative Fund contribution would leverage significantly larger resources and contributions, she said.