Paintback: Monash celebrates five years of recycling scheme and number one spot again

Monash Council is joining national paint recovery scheme Paintback in celebrating its fifth anniversary this month. Monash is also celebrating topping the list for the fifth year as the number one paint recycler.

Backed by the Australian paint industry, the scheme takes unwanted paint and paint packaging, received at more than 150 collection locations across the country, and ensures it is disposed of safely or repurposed for other industrial uses.

Eight million kilograms of unwanted paint and paint packaging was diverted from Australian landfills and waterways last year and, by the end of June this year, Australians are on track to have safely disposed of almost 30 million kilograms since the scheme started.

Under the program, paint packaging and waste liquid are separated and the containers recycled. The waste paint is treated in a number of ways, including energy recovery for solvent and liquid/solid separation for water-based paint. Unwanted paint is also converted into an alternative fuel source replacing coal, or water is extracted and used by other industries, reducing the need to use mains water.

Monash has been a national leader in the take-up of the program. It was the first council in Victoria to sign up for Paintback when it launched in 2016 and has consistently topped the state list for paint collection at Council’s Waste Transfer and Recycling Station in Notting Hill.

In 2019/20, the Monash Waste Transfer Station was again at the top of the list, recovering 346,053kg of paint and packaging, more than double the next collection point. Since the program began it has collected a staggering 1.145 million kilograms.

Monash Mayor Brian Little said he was proud of the community’s participation in the scheme.

“The community’s involvement in this program proves that our transfer station is a well-utilised resource,” Cr Little said.

“It’s fantastic to see that our residents want to do everything they can to make sure we send as little as possible to landfill and that we reuse and recycle wherever possible.”

Paintback chief executive Karen Gomez said Monash residents had played a vital part in the program’s success story.

“Thanks to them we are ready to seize the opportunities of the next five years to divert more paint from landfill and develop new uses for unwanted paint and plastic paint pails,” Ms Gomez said.

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