Cork County Council officials are looking at starting a “paint reuse scheme” which would cut down on wastage and costly incineration.
They have supported a call from one of their councillors, who is an environmental engineer, to turn the local authority’s 11 civic amenity sites into centres where people can drop off or pick up reusable paint.
Not all paint is reusable but Cllr Marcia D’Alton said research in other countries showed that around 50% of it is suitable for re-use.
She said countries such as the USA, Canada, and Australia have paint recycling schemes in operation, while in England a paint manufacturer is helping local authorities redistribute about 300,000 litres every year.
“Most of the paint we collect is sent for incineration which is very costly.
“We should make it available to schools, charities, community groups and others,” Cllr D’Laton said. “It’s a simple initiative. It would save [the council] a lot of money.”
Cllr Derry Canty, who is a professional painting contractor, said over the years he had brought many cans of paint to civic amenity sites.
“I’d be totally for it,” he said in support of Cllr D’Alton’s idea.
Cllr Paul Hayes said there had been an informal arrangement at the Clonakilty civic amenity site for a number of years whereby various community groups and organisations benefited from part-used paint supplies.
Liam Singleton, a senior engineer in the council’s energy and waste services department, said in Britain various groups community group and a commercial company, Newlife Paints, were facilitated by local authorities in the collection and redistribution from their recycling centres.
He pointed out that the commercial company accepted only water-based paints and, from it, created new paint for sale which included a minimum of 50% old paint.
Mr Singleton said some schemes only accepted cans with a minimum volume of paint. Some did not accept paint more than a certain age.
He said it would be important to ascertain if any paint being presented at a civic amenity site was not contaminated with any hazardous materials added.
Mr Singleton said the council would be supportive of paint reuse schemes.