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An array of recycled paint tins

It’s Recycle Week 2022!

It’s Recycle Week 2022!

Recycle Now™ is the national recycling campaign for England and Northern Ireland, which aims to motivate more people, to recycle more of the right things, more often. 

Recycle Week is Recycle Now‘s flagship annual event, celebrating recycling across the nation. It’s the one week of the year where retailers, brands, waste management companies, trade associations, governments and the media come together to achieve one goal: to galvanise the public into recycling more of the right things.

This year’s theme is ‘Let’s Get Real’, and will challenge perceptions and myths around recycling, and target contamination to improve recycling behaviours.

Why it’s important to us?

Recycle week symbolises the importance of recycling through the delivery of crucial campaign moments and ongoing citizen interaction.

The organisation works to educate and inspire citizens to modify their behaviour in recycling, just like we do! It seems the perfect time to remind you all of the fantastic accomplishments Seagulls have reached through recycling:

  • Saved and reused over 4 million litres of paint, equaling 11 million kg or 11,000 tons of CO2e. This is the equivalent of planting 68 million trees.
  • Recovered 75,000 kg of scrap metal tins and 123,944 kg of liquid oil that has been recycled.
  • Provided a social value of £1.9 million to the city of Leeds in 2018
  • Created a unique and people-centred organisation; learning as we go along and responding to local needs, all through the art of recycling.

We can’t thank our loyal customers enough for working with our organisation to make the environment a better place. Now let’s double these stats!

Outdoor Decking Paint

Need to paint your decking?

Ok, so we covered how to paint your garden gate. Now let’s talk about getting your decking ready for a bank holiday bbq!

For those who have some lovely decking in your garden, you already know what a great addition it is. Perfect for dining, socialising, sunbathing or BBQs.

However, the trusty British weather probably means you don’t get to use your outdoor space as much as you’d wish. It also means that it will most likely need a bit of TLC after a long winter.

Leave your decking to dry for 24 hours minimum.

1. Cleaning your decking

So we are going to start by giving your decking a good clean. It’s recommended that you keep it tidy all year round, to save a big clear-up once a year. Just a weekly brush should do!

Get yourself a stiff outdoor brush and brush away any debris.

Now it’s clean, it’s time to apply Decking Cleaner. Unfortunately, Decking Cleaner is hard to come by at Seagulls and when we get it, it’s gone within the hour!

You should apply the cleaner directly onto the wood and use your scrubbing brush. Then jet wash this off, leaving it to dry for at least 24 hours. (Make sure you consider the weather; you don’t want to do this and then it rains!)

2. Sanding your decking

You now have a clean deck, but you need to make sure there is no leftover paint! (If you are painting over/touching up skip over this step)

Firstly, take a wire brush and use light sweeping strokes to remove any old paint.

Then you can go ahead with your scraper for that tougher paint. Scraping rarely removes all the paint from the existing deck, and it’s not meant to. After scraping away loose paint, it’s likely the wood will still have plenty of stuck-on paint. However, if it’s not peeling the new paint will still stick.

You can now begin to sand the decking. This smooths out the edges allowing for a fresh coat to be applied. If you have a power sander handy- brilliant! If not, try using a sanding sponge. Before sanding, use a hammer and nailset to countersink any nails that might be sticking up.

3. Treating & painting the wood

It is up to you what tools you use for this project, whether it be a brush, a paint pad or a roller. Make sure you apply your Frog Tape before cracking that tin of paint open though.

What paint should you use?

Here is where we come in handy.

We have everything you will need to bring your decking back to life, if you know exactly what you want, it will be best for you to ask a member of staff to show you where everything is- we have paint in abundance. Don’t be afraid to ask for help too, that’s what we are here for!

– Decking Preserver

We have several different types of Wood preservers. Cuprinol & Ronseal are the most popular at Seagulls, and the best in our opinion! It comes in various different colours, including Dark Browns, Green & Clear.

– Decking Paint

Our Decking Paint is again mainly Cuprinol & Ronseal. We occasionally get the likes of Wickes, Barrentine & Ever Build, though they are rare. Again, they come in colours such as Green, Clear, Oak, Pine, Timber, Cedar, and Mahogany.

You will need these materials too:

  • Painter’s tape

We sell Frog Tape in-store, offering 2 different types. The Green s the most common and better of the 2, it is multi-surface & will cost you £8.50. The Yellow is for delicate surfaces and we charge £9 for a roll of that!

  • Dust Sheets

We sell 12-foot by 12-foot dust sheets for just £2.50 each!

  • Scraper

We sell scrapers instore for £2.50

  • Scrubbing Brush

Unfortunately, we don’t have scrubbing brushes in stock at the minute.

Click here for a list of materials we sell in-store.

Different colour mixed paint

How we collect your paint

You all know that we reuse recycled paint, and put it to good use. But do you know what we do during a paint collection?

We made this TikTok a few months ago where we brought you guys along with us on our paint collection, but think it’s time we refreshed everyone’s minds!


Romanticise your paint collection! 55 million litres of paint goes to landfill, we have saved 2 million of it ??‍? #reuse #landfill #fyp

♬ More Than Friends – Aidan Bissett
A paint collection in one minute!

Firstly, we have a partnership with Leeds City Council allowing us to have a big pink Seagulls container at each household waste site in Leeds.

You are able to donate your old paint by popping it into the container. Our team will then pick it up on their paint collection.

As you can see in the TikTok, when we arrive at the waste sites we differentiate whether the tins are good or bad. We can usually tell by giving them a good shake. If you can hear a watery sound, it’s usually off.

Good paint

Good paint goes on one side of the van, and bad on the other. We have to carefully pack them in to avoid any paint spillages on the journey back to Seagulls.

The good tins go into the paint mixing room, which we call SD3. Here, we find that most of the tins are half full, so here is where we can have fun.

Our paint mixers then find other tins that are half-full, mix together new colours and then add a paint splodge onto the lid. The tins then get taken over to the paint shop ready to be bought by our lovely customers!

However, if the paint is off we do things a bit differently.

Bad Paint

The ‘bad’ paint gets taken to our Paint Disposal room.

Whoever is is disposals will open each tin of paint, goggles and masks on (it can get smelly) and dispose of the off paint into a large container. We have one container for water-based paint, and one for oil-based.

An external recycling company collects these containers, meaning they can get disposed of correctly.

The plastic paint tins then get taken away by Forge Recycling, and we take metal tins to the scrap yard ourselves.

We took a trip last week, taking about 2 weeks’ worth of tins weighing just under a ton. We got £106 for this!

Our metal paint tins at the scrap yard

And that folks, is how we collect your paint!

Colour Match For Paint Service

Do you know about our bespoke colour-matching service?

If you are a Seagulls regular, you may know about our bespoke paint mixing service. This service bespoke service means we can match whatever colour your heart desires, just for a few pounds extra than off-the-shelf paint. Off the shelf, paint starts at £5.50 for 2.5L, whilst 2.5L of bespoke colour-matched paint starts from just £11.

Shopping at other businesses, such as Farrow & Ball could set you back £52!

Dulux and Farrow & Ball are two colour charts that we work best off, and there is plenty of them in-store, or you can find them online too. A lot of you request colour matches of specific items, which we love to do.

We thought this would be the perfect place to show you guys some examples of our colour matching skills, and what our paint mixing experts can whip up.

Match It Monday – Bespoke Paint Mixing In Action

If you follow us on social media, you may have seen our weekly ‘Match It Monday’ TikTok videos. Every Monday, we pick something random from Seagulls and put our paint mixing experts to the test. They never fail! Take a look for yourself;

You can’t live in Yorkshire without saying ‘Ey Up’ once in a while.. so we made a mosaic kit of it #yorkshire #eyup #mosaickit #mosaicart #diy #craft #leeds #uk

♬ As It Was – Harry Styles

Remember folks that our colour match for paint service is done by eye, no fancy colour machines around our place.

9/10 we’re bang on, the odd occasion may need a reblend but this is rare. If you have a certain colour in mind it’s always best to pre-order through our website (it gives us time to play with colour).

Bespoke paint mixing by eye also means we can never guarantee the same colour twice. Please make sure you order enough paint for your project to avoid any disappointment.

One last thing, our mixing magic does not extend to specific colour matches for Woodwork Paint. The pigments we use are only suitable for water-based emulsion, meaning we are unable to mix the same colours in gloss that we can in the emulsion.

Let’s look at some price comparisons

We compared our prices to our competitors, and you won’t believe what we found

If you follow us on social media, you may have seen a few price comparison posts pop up on your feed. They had quite a big reaction, but when you see the findings you will see why.

Here, we have focused on three of our competitors to see how Seagulls’ prices compare side by side with others.


So let’s take this high-end, rather pricey paint company. They are known for their expensive prices and desirability. However, they are quite unattainable for the average person.

We find that a lot of our customers come into Seagulls wanting specific colours from this company, this is where our Bespoke colour mixing service comes into play… Hague Blue is one of the most popular (the colour seen below)

High-end or second-hand?

If you decided to splash out and paint your lounge head to toe with our competitor, it would set you back a grand total of £265! Yes, you read that right.

However, shopping at Seagulls won’t even make a dent in your wallet, coming to a total of £30.55. This means you are saving yourself £234 (It’s a no brainer really).

Come on, think about all of the things you could buy for £234.

If you are worried about not getting the exact colours as a said company, you are not to worry. We offer a bespoke paint mixing service, working mainly from colour charts, or specific items if you wish! This means we can get the exact colour you want, for a fraction of the price.

Collecting leftover and unwanted paint from householders across Leeds is so rewarding, and to see price differences in this capacity puts what we do into perspective.


Next, we chose a company less known for its higher-end pricing, but it is one of the go-to DIY stores in the UK. Being a large DIY & home improvement store, everyone knows about it could be a lot of people’s first choice if they don’t know where any other paint companies are, so this price comparison is quite interesting.

Our paint is as cheap as chips

After crunching the numbers with this competitor, we noted that all the paint needed for this room would total £77, but just £30.55 from us at Seagulls.

That is a saving of £46.45. Shopping at Seagulls is a massive bonus for your bank account with the added bonus of helping the environment and helping people.


Finally, we compared our prices to another big paint company, which sell home improvement products, and is a fairly popular choice.

As you can see, there is a considerable difference in prices with our competitors totalling £84. Shopping with Seagulls would save you £53.45, with our grand total being £30.55. You could book yourself onto on of our decorating courses for what you would save… twice!

Would you even be able to tell the difference?

Reprocessing paint and selling it at Seagulls for a fraction of the price of other, more traditional paint shops with a wide selection of paint, varnish and timber care alongside Seagulls branded new paint (it’s trade quality at reasonable prices) and a range of decorating equipment, we have everything you need and more! We will continue to create a price comparison to remind our shoppers how much they are saving!

12L for £10

Finally, we were lucky enough to be given over 17 pallets of Leyland White Contract Matt Emulsion! This equates to over 100 tubs.

We decided to sell these 10L tubs for just £10, a special Seagulls offer (that’s about 83p per litre). Our competitors sell this exact paint, one selling for £19.50 and £17.50 for another.

We have been extremely lucky to get out hands on these, and we love the fact we can sell them at a discounted price… plus we still have plenty left for those interested.

Pastel Pink Garden Set

Get your garden ready for spring

Spring is slowly approaching, which means one thing, time to decorate your garden! With the unconventional British weather, keeping your garden intact over the colder months can seem impossible. So now the forecast is looking up, it is time to revamp your garden.

Flowers, plants and outdoor lighting are no longer the only ways to revamp your outdoor space. A lick of paint can go a long way, and change your space entirely for the warmer weather.

Shopping with Seagulls will keep costs low, but quality high, and certainly impress your garden party guests.

Also, we have an amazing offer on all repurposed masonry paint, on sale for just £1 a litre for all of March.

What needs painting in your garden?

Here is a list of things that may need a fresh lick of paint after the miserable weather;

  • Shed
  • Garden Fence
  • Garden Furniture
  • Plant pots
  • Decking
  • Exterior house wall/doors

What you need to do before painting

There are multiple steps you must take into consideration before you begin your project;

  • What type of surface you are working on?
  • What is the quality of the surface?
  • Will it need sanding, or even the use of a pressure washer to clean it up
  • Have you thought about applying a primer first for durability

What paint should you use in your garden?

So you have prepped your surface, what now? It’s time to paint!

Wooden surfaces/decking- 100% acrylic water-based paint to give the evenest paint coverage

Doors- A high gloss finish for that extra pop

Metal outdoor surfaces- Oil-based exterior paint will be most effective in preventing rust.

Plant pots- Exterior water-based paints, using a small brush for precision

How to pick your colours

Gardens have slightly more free reign than interior spaces. Using bright colours can give your outdoor space that extra pop in time for the warm weather.

We offer a Bespoke Paint service, for water-based paints only. A lot of outdoor paints are oil-based, which we unfortunately can’t mix, as our pigment.

You can nab yourself 2.5L of Bespoke paint for just £11, rather than £52 from Farrow & Ball.

Whilst 5L of Seagulls bespoke paint stands at £16.50, rather than £89 at Farrow & Ball.

If you are swaying towards an oil-based paint, then we most likely have what you are looking for on our shelves, just nip in and find your match!

We can mix any colour you want

What you will need

We sell everything you need, not just paint! Here are some things you can pick up at Seagulls

  • 4″ Masonry brush £5
  • 4″ Shed brush £5
  • 9″ Harris Roller with 4 heads £9.50
  • 10pk solvent roller heads £12.99
  • Ready Mixed Filler 1.4kg £4
  • Scraper £2.50
Our paint supplies can be found behind the till

We can’t wait to see you all!

Be a nice human

Have an inside look into our Online Shop

Seagulls aren’t just on Kirkstall road, you can also treat yourself on our Online Shop.

You can find almost anything (that may be a slight exaggeration), but you would be silly to not check it out.


We have a variety of different T-shirts for sale at the moment. Our newest addition is the ‘Respect the Difference’ Tees, designed by our good friends over at Secret Industries. We screen-print all of our T-shirts in the house!

You can buy the T-shirts here.

Our Green ‘Respect the Difference’ T-shirt designed by Secret Industries

Made By

We have recently swayed away from Seagulls Lifehouse, a name that we stuck by for many years. Lifehouse was a place where people can gain new life skills via our workshops.

We found many people becoming confused as to what Lifehouse meant, eventually deciding to change our name to Seagulls Workshops.

Within Seagulls Workshops, we host Silversmith, Coppersmith, Upcycling and Decorating workshops. Leon also makes all of the beautiful items listed on the ‘Made By’ section of our Online Shop.

As well as T-shirts, you can also find handmade items on our site, all made from recycled materials.

A best seller is the Shirley Shelf.

The shelf is plain with the intention of painting, waxing or varnishing the shelf to your requirements.

The shirley shelf is a best seller on our online shop.
Our Shirley Shelf is decorated with a ‘Spread the Love’ print

Another favourite is the Beauty from the Floods prints.

Our ‘Beauty from the Floods’ B2 Print

In 2015, we suffered massively when Seagulls was submerged in water due to the Boxing Day floods.

The river water left devastation, chaos and a thick layer of mud. The only silver lining from this climate change emergency were the beautiful images we were able to capture, and a visit from Jeremy Corbyn himself.

Seagulls worked in collaboration with the renowned screen printer Jonny Akers to produce this beautiful hand-pulled full-colour print of our Beauty from the Floods artwork.


Mosaics are a customer favourite.

We have an on-site mosaic studio at the back of the yard. In the studio, you will find Ben making up all the mosaic kits that you can purchase here.

You can buy a variety of different mosaic kits instore and on our online shop.
One of the lovely mosaics that you can purchase to make yourself.

There is a variety of seasonal kits, such as Halloween and Christmas themes. You can even spruce up your front door by purchasing our ‘House Number Mosaic kit’. It is really simple! Just purchase online, stating what number and colours are needed before it is delivered to you.


If you feel like ordering paint from the comfort of your own home (especially in this weather), you can place orders via our online shop here.

Once we receive your online orders, we simply call you if we need anything clarifying. When the paint is ready we call again to let you know it’s ready for collection.

We don’t offer nationwide deliveries, but we do hold a Leeds-based delivery service Monday to Friday.

A variety of paint colour mixed by our staff instore.
A variety of colours mixed by us.

Our site can also guide you on how to donate paint at the landfills in and around Leeds, that way your paint can get to us safely.

The UK’s waste paint crisis

Our paint collection points at recycling centres

The UK is in a waste paint crisis, drowning in leftover and unwanted paint. Yorkshire alone has 4.5 million litres of leftover paint, this is enough paint to cover the Tees Transporter in Middlesbrough 229 times. It is even enough paint to cover the footprint of Barnsley twice with some to spare.

So, what’s the solution to the paint crisis?

Seagulls has been part of the solution for nearly 20 years, helping to divert over 3 million litres away from landfill and reprocessed it for sale in our paint store  

The Paint Store

What’s happening across the rest of the UK?

Firstly, Seagulls are unique, really making traction in the world of paint. There is no one else like us! Opportunities for recycling paint are patchy across the country. There is a scheme called Community RePaint that may operate in your area. However, you may need to check their site too see what they accept, as it is often limited to newer tins of paint.

However, all is not lost. People in high places have began to talk about what happens to leftover paint, which will work to fight the paint crisis. In spring 2021 the Royal Society of Chemists approached Seagulls, keen to understand what we do. The outcome being that they asked Seagulls to be their case study for a national campaign.

Why is a campaign needed?

According to research by the Royal Society of Chemistry, ‘Lockdown-inspired decorating has led UK households to stockpile enough paint to coat the Forth Rail Bridge 212 times.’ In partnership with celebrity decorator, interiors stylist and DIY queen Linda Barker, the Royal Society of Chemistry is calling for government action as it launches an industry task force to make DIY more sustainable, with Leeds-based reuse and recycling initiative Seagulls Reuse a perfect example of how paint could be recycled across the UK.’

Linda Barker with some of our team!

Facts & Figures

To put this amount of paint into context, the Royal Society of Chemistry has crunched some numbers, equating the amount of leftover paint to landmarks throughout the UK. It makes for some interesting reading.

North East

2 million litres of leftover paint, enough to cover the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle 170 times.

North West

5.5 million litres of leftover paint, enough to cover the Silver Jubilee Bridge in Runcorn 194 times.

East Midlands

3.5 million litres of leftover paint, enough to cover the entire footprint of the city of Lincoln.

West Midlands

4.5 million litres of leftover paint, enough to cover Sutton Park, Birmingham over 5 times or paint an area the size of the Bullring shopping centre 469 times.

East of England 

5 million litres of leftover paint, enough to cover the footprint of the city of Cambridge 1 and a half times.


5 million litres of leftover paint, enough to cover Tower Bridge over 229 times.

South East

7 million litres of leftover paint, enough to cover the footprint of the city of Brighton.

South West

5 million litres of leftover paint, enough to cover the footprint of the city of Bath nearly twice.


2.5 million litres of leftover paint, enough to cover the Menai suspension bridge in Anglesey over 508 times.


5 million litres of leftover paint, enough to cover Forth Rail Bridge 20 times.

Northern Ireland

1.5 million litres of leftover paint, enough to cover Rathlin Island, off the coast of Ballycastle, with some to spare or paint the Giant’s Causeway over 22 times.

You can read more about the Royal Society of Chemists campaign and if you don’t have a scheme in your area you should write to your local MP and ask them for one! Details can be found here

Staff and volunteers collect paint from a household waste site.

If you live in Leeds you can donate paint by taking it to your local household waste site. Find out where your nearest site is by clicking here

You can also sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date with the campaign, our news and for special offers

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.

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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