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Is your old paint killing the environment?

Is your old paint killing your local environment, even though you took it to your local waste site? 98% of waste paint currently ends up in landfills or is burnt, causing unnecessary harm to the environment. Paint being chucked into landfills can make its way to rivers and the sea, causing massive harm to wildlife.

This valuable resource is causing harm when it could potentially find a new life on somebody else’s walls. Seagulls have been tackling the problem of waste paint head-on, for nearly 20 years.

Pre Covid, Seagulls collected 400 tonnes of paint per year. This number has dipped slightly since the pandemic but we are hopeful it will increase again.

I want to help the environment, where can I donate my paint?

If you live in Leeds, it’s easy to donate, there are Seagulls paint banks on every household waste site in Leeds.

https://www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/bins-and-recycling/recycling-sites

Rob emptying one of our paint banks.

We kindly ask people to drop their unwanted paint at their local waste site and NOT Seagulls. This is for 2 reasons:

  1. Avoids fly tipping in our yard
  2. The paint collected from waste sites gets weighed and recorded. Most importantly, Leeds City Council pay for the amount of paint collected.

What paint can be reused and how can I tell?

Any tin that has more than a couple of inches left in the pot and has NOT gone off can be reused. You will know if the paint has gone bad because it will either be solid or smell like rotten eggs! We reprocess good and bad paint so don’t worry too much about the quality as we will safely dispose or recycle any paint that we cannot reuse.

Solid paint and empty paint tins can be put in your general household bin.

We accept household emulsion, masonry paint, timber care, gloss, varnish, eggshell and undercoat.

But what if I don’t live in Leeds?

It’s possible your local authority has a community RePaint scheme, you can find out here.

If not, then lobby your local Councillors and MP to ask why there are no paint reuse facilities in your area.

For years there has been a ‘postcode lottery’ for paint recycling, the facilities for which differ between local authorities, with 98% of waste paint currently being burnt or sent to landfill. But the Royal Society of Chemistry is now calling for UK governments to provide better support to local reuse and recycling initiatives.

Whilst the companies behind paint brands Dulux, Farrow and Ball, Johnstone’s Paints and Ronseal are calling for government engagement with the British Coatings Federation’s PaintCare blueprint for a national remanufacturing programme.

The Royal Society of Chemistry is calling for:

Government and local authorities to provide more support to paint recycling and reuse initiatives, such as Seagulls Reuse and the BCF’s PaintCare programme, making it easier for consumers to recycle paints no matter where they live

Government to directly invest in research programmes for sustainable alternatives for PLFs

Consumers to reduce wastage of paints by buying only what they need

Consumers to write to their MP asking for change – further details can be found here.

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