Way back in 2011, an acquaintance from Leeds in the UK mentioned Seagulls Reuse. Seagulls is now one of the longest-standing paint reuse enterprises in the world, and I was intrigued by their story.
When the founders - Cat and Kate - pitched the idea of paint reuse to Leeds Council, they were met with skepticism. But in a short period of time they had grown from a team of two to a team of ten running a busy depot. Seagulls has been a thriving community hub ever since.
The idea had stayed in the back of my mind ever since, and in 2022 I had enough free time to start investigating whether the idea could work in Australia too.
I first looked to see if anyone had started paint reuse since I'd heard about the idea. It seemed that Planet Paints in Toowoomba, Queensland, were the only company working to divert usable paint from landfill (do go and check them out if you need durable concrete paint!). There was still nobody doing this anywhere else in Australia.
So I started calling everyone in the paint and paint waste disposal sectors to ask them whether they thought paint reuse could work here. The responses were...mixed.
I'll unpack that in more detail in a future blog post.