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Australians chose to responsibly dispose of 4.3 million kilograms of unwanted paint and packaging last financial year by returning it through the national Paintback network.

That’s more than double the 1.9 million collected in the scheme’s first year of operation.

According to its second annual report, Paintback expanded to include 100 permanent sites covering all states and territories and also ran a number of mobile events in metropolitan and regional areas.

That allowed us to exceed our target of reaching more than 85% of the population in just our second year, which is much earlier than expected,” said CEO Karen Gomez.

Nearly 17 million Australians now live within 20 kilometres of a permanent collection site, where they can deposit their unwanted paint and packaging for free.”

At 30 June, Queensland was the leading state with 35 sites, followed by Victoria with 30, WA 12, NSW 10, SA five, Tasmania four and the ACT and NT two each. Other sites have since opened, with more planned.

Paintback is the first unified national scheme of its kind in the world to be developed and voluntarily implemented by the paint industry.

It was made possible by the ACCC giving regulatory approval for Dulux, Taubmans, Haymes, Wattyl and Resene to add 15c-a-litre to the wholesale price of their products to fund it. Rust-Oleum has since signed up, increasing Paintback’s coverage to more than 90% of all architectural and decorative paint sold in Australia.

Both trade and DIY painters can use the scheme. Up to 100 litres per vehicle per visit are accepted, secured in containers of 20 litres or less. This is then recycled or disposed of responsibly.

Our goal is to make it normal for people to want to take their paint back, rather than stockpile it or throw it away, and the response has been quite overwhelming,” Ms Gomez said.

Our website had 190,000 unique visits during the year and we received around 6500 telephone enquiries.

Sustainability is at the heart of this initiative. We want Australians to see paint as a reusable product.”

During the year Paintback was selected as an ABA100 Winner for Sustainability in the 2017 Australian Business Awards and presented as a case study at the International Product Stewardship Summit in Sydney.

The company also is investing in research to identify technologies that will better capture valuable resources from unwanted paint, reduce its environmental impact or turn it into something new and useful, such as building materials.