Paintback seeks levy extension

Australian paint manufacturers are asking Australia’s consumer watchdog to extend a 15 cent per litre levy on paint sold to increase the success of its used paint disposal and recycling scheme Paintback.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) current levy, introduced when the paint stewardship scheme was established in 2016, aims to promote the safe disposal of unwanted architectural and decorative paint in Australia.

At the time, Australian Paint Manufacturers’ Federation members, responsible for more than 90 per cent of paint sold in Australia by volume, estimated about half of all waste paint was not disposed of properly.

Initial aims were to establish fixed and mobile unwanted paint collection points within a reasonable distance of 85 per cent of Australians by 2021.

The current levy authorisation ends on June 1 this year.

Paintback Chief Executive Karen Gomez said the scheme has over-delivered on access, with waste disposal and collections points available to 88 per cent of the Australian population.

This has enabled 21 million kilograms of unwanted paint and packaging to be responsibly disposed of.

According to Gomez, a levy extension will take the scheme further – supporting operations and research activities to establish a circular economy for used paint and packaging.

“Paintback is a well-functioning, innovative model that the Australian paint industry seeks to extend,’’ she said.

“The momentum we have built, despite interruptions to our usual operations due to the pandemic, saw Paintback collect over 8100 tonnes of used paint and packaging nationally in 2019/20, exceeding expectations and delivering a net environmental benefit by avoiding inappropriate disposal of unwanted paint.”

The paint industry has applied for a new 10-year authorisation with the ACCC to continue the 15 cent per litre funding.

The ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.

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