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AkzoNobel Seeks New Life in Old Paint

Monday, September 23, 2013

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The world's leading paint and coatings maker is making a new push to explore and improve paint recycling by closing the paint production loop.

“Project Recover” is a collaboration between global paint maker AkzoNobel Decorative Paints and global design and innovation firm Seymourpowell, and is also funded by the UK’s innovation agency—The Technology Strategy Board.

Seymourpowell / YouTube

The project team says they have identified three main challenge areas in paint recycling: collection, reprocessing and sales.

The project was announced in a blog post on Seymourpowell’s website Sept. 11. The announcement includes an animated educational video on the project’s mission.

Viability Exploration

In the UK, it’s estimated that more than 300 million liters of paint are purchased each year, with as much as 15 percent going to waste, according to the blog, citing Community Repaint.

The majority of paint waste ends up landfills, the partners noted.

“Combine this with a rising costs of raw materials required to make paint, such as Titanium Dioxide, now more than ever, there is a strong business case to explore cost effective methods of recycling paint,” the project partners maintain.

Chris Sherwin, head of sustainability at Seymourpowell said, “Paint recycling is a real area of opportunity, economically and environmentally, yet faces many design challenges to become viable.”

3 Challenges Identified

Through consultation with two existing paint-recycling companies, Newlife Paints based in Ford, West Sussex, and Castle Repaint Scotland in Glenrothes, the partners identified three main challenges involved in paint recycling.

First, collection is an issue, the partners said.

The average UK household has 17 half-empty or unused tins of paint in storage so there is a “significant task in getting these back,” according to the project team.

Paint recycling
Screenshot via Seymourpowell / YouTube

As part of the project, the team consulted companies already involved in paint recycling in the UK.

Second, selling recycled paint has its hurdles, as there are issues of brand and consumer perception of quality.

The third challenge involves reprocessing the left over and unwanted paint, including removing paint from old containers and remixing.

Initial Focus

Initially, Seymourpowell said it focused efforts on the third challenge, indentifying a “completely new technology which halves the decant time of old paint so greatly improving the recycling process.”

A further elaboration on the technology development was not immediately available Friday.

Akzo Nobel: ‘Thinking Through Challenges’

In a statement, David Cornish, Global Sustainability Manager – Resource Efficiency at AkzoNobel added, “This collaboration really helped us think through some of the tricky challenges of paint recycling. It’s an exciting area for us, but needs improving to become commercially attractive.

“Seymourpowell’s animation will certainly help us communicate the opportunities internally in order to bring the weight of our resources behind this research.

“We look forward to continue working together to further investigate this new paint recycling technology and how we and others might make use of it.”

About the Partners

AkzoNobel, headquartered in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, is the largest global paint and coatings company in the world.

Seymourpowell is a consulting firm with expertise including product design, product development and consumer product research and industrial design. The company is based in London.


Tagged categories: AkzoNobel; Environmental Protection; Green coatings; Paint disposal; Paint recycling; Sustainability; Trends

Comment from Bryan Morris, (9/23/2013, 9:26 AM)

Great idea. Hope they can follow through with program and roll-out to USA.

Comment from JIm Quinn, (9/30/2013, 12:49 PM)

Here in the US in Portland, Oregon, we have been recycling latex paint for many years. Our recycled MetroPaint is Green Seal certified, and well accepted in the market here in the Pacific Northwest, we are now selling more than $1 million worth annually. You can see more information and a short video at www.oregonmetro.gov/metropaint

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