Making paint recycling a reality with pioneering new technology
Seymourpowell has been working with Dulux-owner AkzoNobel and Newlife Paints to create new technology that can recycle paint cost effectively and at an industrial scale for the very first time, creating a new circular economy in the process. The project responds to the alarming statistic that 13% of all paint purchased each year in the UK goes unused, amounting to 55 million litres in total. Seymourpowell's pioneering technology can decant unused paint from tins quickly and efficiently ready for recycling, a process that was previously very labour-intensive and expensive because it had to be done by hand.
Seymourpowell began by setting up a paint recycling station in their workshop and embarking on a rigorous research process to discover the most cost-effective way to decant unused paint from tins. They experimented with high-pressure air jets, using vibrations and a variety of novel crushing and squeezing mechanisms, before discovering that a powerful industrial vacuum cleaner was the fastest and most efficient way to suck unused paint out of tins. The team then developed and adapted the suction technology specifically for paint recycling before creating a prototype that was trialled with waste management company Veolia.
The trial demonstrated that Seymourpowell’s concept can recycle paint four times faster and at one-seventh of the cost of the previous methods, making the process commercially viable at a large scale for the first time and having a positive effect on the environment by reducing landfill.
Seymourpowell will now continuing their work with AkzoNobel and Newlife Paints to develop the concept further, including creating prototypes for use at smaller paint recycling operations, to make paint recycling a reality for all and demonstrate an innovative model of a circular economy in the process.