The country’s only voluntary accredited product stewardship scheme for paint and packaging, Resene PaintWise™, has welcomed the Government’s move to make industry responsible for their packaging.

Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage today (29 July) announced plastic packaging as a priority product under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008. She also announced tyres, refrigerants, e-waste, agrichemicals and their containers, and farm plastics as priority products under the Act.

PaintWise programme manager Trevor Tutt, of sustainability experts 3R Group, says the announcement is a game changer for New Zealand in terms of managing our waste. “This means importers, producers and retailers would have to be participants in a regulated product stewardship scheme which ensures their products’ packaging is effectively managed and reused, repurposed, recycled or properly disposed of at the end of life,” he says. “It allows for the removal of free-riders – those who aren’t currently playing their part.”

The Resene PaintWise programme, which has been running in New Zealand since 2004, collects and recycles thousands of unwanted paint containers each year.

The paint containers collected through PaintWise are recycled back into new paint pails, while the paint is diverted from landfill – some of which is donated to community groups or used for projects such as graffiti abatement, Trevor says. Work is also being carried out to use the paint in other products, including as an additive in concrete.

“Since PaintWise started over 3 million packs have been collected and enough paint has been donated to councils and community groups to cover 3 million square metres of graffiti.  As well as recycling containers, the paint has been able to support so many hard-working volunteers and beautify many communities,” says Resene Marketing Manager Karen Warman.

PaintWise collected just under 1,500 tonnes of paint and packaging in the 2019-2020 financial year alone. “The impact will be even greater when all manufacturers and retailers are involved in a regulated stewardship scheme,” Trevor says.

Resene paint can be dropped off at most Resene ColorShops for free, while paint and packaging from other brands incur a small fee to help with the recycling costs.