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March 30, 2017, 06:26 PM

Community RePaint avoids a common and colossal waste

By Michael Morel


London West, UK - Paint is expensive, yet so many of us have perfectly usable cans squirreled away in storage collecting dust and approaching expiration. There is a good reason for this widespread tendency. It is hard to buy paint in the exact amount needed, so leftovers are difficult to avoid.

Community RePaint was formed to make use of this ubiquitous untapped resource. Starting in Leeds and Ealing back in 1992 and spreading to 75 locations today, Community RePaint collects and redirects unused or unwanted paint to local charities, community groups and whoever else wants it. Funded by Dulux and managed by environmental consultancy Resource Futures, the paint is offered for free or at a tiny fraction of the cost.

Last week I ventured to see the operation for myself. Using their website's easy location finder I discovered 14 scattered throughout London. The closest was less than five minutes walking from the Kentish Town tube station just north of Camden. Each "scheme", as they call it, is run by a different local organization. Our chosen spot was operated by the North London Waste Authority. We called ahead to check hours and were soon exploring their ample stock.

When it comes to salvage and reuse it helps to have a open mind. Indeed part of the fun comes from unexpected discoveries. My wife and I had a particular colour in mind for our patio table but we were open to different colours. Community RePaint definitely came through for us.

The selection was diverse. About two thirds were different sorts of white including water-based, oil-based and emulsion varieties. The coloured paints ranged from deep purple and pale yellow to shades of green and a sophisticated dark rose. We ended up scoring with a colour I will call light moss, perfect for our rusted patio table (see photo).

Reading fine print on used paint cans obscured by old drips can be daunting. Thankfully, Community RePaint only accepts non-hazardous paint designed for general home use. It was reassuring to know we would not be taking home anything dangerous.

Our rusty old table gained new life at no cost and saved the environment another expired can of paint. The unusual colour will always remind us of the time we entered a Waste Authority work yard and ended up with a gleaming green table.

Do you have unused paint lying around that you will probably never use? If so check out their website below so you can donate. Keep in mind Community RePaint will not accept cans that are less than a third full. Also, once a can has been opened it is only good for about two years so make sure it is not expired.

Sound like a hassle? Keep in mind that old paint can not simply be binned. For proper disposal it has to be taken to a Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC). So you will have to take it somewhere eventually, it might as well be Community RePaint.

Community RePaint website

Story Type:  News

ID: 99582

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