As of this week, Community RePaint will ‘Paint the Town Red’ across several council areas in Northern Ireland. The scheme’s aim is to collect good quality, reusable, non-hazardous paints, varnishes and wood stains and therefore diverting them from landfill. This regional Community RePaint scheme has been established thanks to the support of several councils and funded by the Department of the Environment’s Rethink Waste programme.

Community RePaint Belfast East is part of the UK-wide paint reuse network, Community RePaint, that takes a definitive ‘Broad-brush approach’ to the issue to prevent reusable, leftover paint from going to waste while assisting those in need – all in one go.

East Belfast Mission’s Social Economy department will run the Community RePaint scheme and use the paint in their furniture reuse scheme, for social housing and for direct sale through their restore shops. All monies generated will go back into their social and community projects.

So far, nine forward-looking local councils have joined forces with East Belfast Mission’s Social Economy department. Donations of paint can be made at participating recycling centres, with the scheme accepting most unwanted paint products, although any paint containers marked with an orange hazardous symbol cannot be accepted.

Owen Lyttle from the Department of the Environment’s Rethink Waste team said: “Waste paint has traditionally been a problem and a costly waste stream for local councils to deal with.The Department is delighted to assist with the funding of this innovative Community RePaint scheme for Northern Ireland and ensure a more sustainable approach for unused paint.”

“Most householders will have been confronted with the problem of what to do with perfectly good paint left after home decoration. Making the paint available for reuse through this scheme is good for the environment, good for the community and reduces costs to local councils.”

“The support of the local councils for the scheme has been overwhelming,” said Martin Pearse, Community RePaint Network Manager, “It is thanks to their enthusiasm that virtually all residents in the Belfast area will now be able to donate their leftover paint, and through the work of East Belfast Mission, help less fortunate households.”

Last year 332 million litres of paint (retail and trade) were sold in the UK. Of this, it is estimated that approximately 50 million litres were unused, stored in homes or garages or just thrown away. Those behind the scheme say that’s enough paint to fill 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools!

Other facts to note are that: In 2011 the Community RePaint national network:

  • Saved 343,597 litres of paint, donated by householders and businesses, going to waste, with a market value of over £1.5 million
  • 217,000 litres of paint was redistributed to community groups, charities, voluntary organisations and people in social need
  • In doing so the Community RePaint network provides social, environmental and economic benefits.

To find out more about paint reuse and how to donate visit

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