About us

Circle Paints is Sydney’s cheapest paint shop, selling high-quality interior and exterior paints. We collect surplus Dulux paint from trade painters that is otherwise destined for landfill or incineration and make it available for purchase through our online store.

Our customers are people on tight budgets, and businesses, community groups, and individuals who want to play their part in creating a sustainable economy by choosing to recycle and reuse wherever possible.

Did you know that the paint recycling programs run through your local Council or the EPA aren't really recycling paint? You can read more about the current state of paint recycling in Australia below. Using surplus paint - usually called paint reuse - is by far the most sustainable option.

Circle Paints with shelf of paint

How does our business model work?

We contact trade painters to let them know about our enterprise, or they approach Circle Paints if they hear about us from industry peers.

We arrange a convenient time for collection of their surplus paint. Depending on distance from our depot in St Peters, we collect minimum volumes of between 50 and 80 litres.

The paint is brought back to our depot, quality checked (because sometimes painters drop their roller sleeves into the tin!), and labelled, with a swatch of the paint applied to the label. 

We check that the colour inside matches the name on the tin, and if it does, we record the name on our label. If it's a bespoke colour we match it as closely as possible to one of the 1850 shades on the Dulux Fandeck and write the name of the most similar colour on the label. 

If we can't find a very close match we describe how the paint differs from the most similar colour in the Dulux Fandeck, and we sometimes also upload a photo of our colour swatch on the tin. 

The tin or tub is then uploaded to our online catalogue, ready for purchase. If the listing description doesn't say "close match" after the colour name, then you can expect that the paint is the exact shade listed. 

Why is there so much paint left over from professional paint jobs?

Trade painters often have a substantial amount of surplus paint. This is for various reasons. Sometimes clients choose a colour, then change their mind after the paint has been purchased. Sometimes it's due to an estimation error. On larger jobs, multiple team members will each have a tin or tub of paint, and at the end of the job there is often enough left over paint to fill one or more entire containers. 

Although many trade painters are environmentally conscious, they generally find it hard to convince a new customer to select a colour left over from a previous job, and it's often impossible to re-tint paint to obtain the exact colour a new customer has picked out.


Where has unwanted paint been going?

Paintback is a scheme funded by a 15 cent levy on every litre of architectural and decorative paint sold. Paintback has a Board drawn from Australia's larger paint manufacturers. In recent years surplus paint from trade painters in Sydney has nearly always been dropped off at a Paintback location. 

As far as we know, Paintback has not attempted to facilitate the reuse of waste paint, nor have they attempted to reprocess waste paint to produce recycled paint. Their efforts to repurpose acrylic waste paint do not appear to have progressed beyond the trial stage. 

Paintback has contracted Cleanaway to dispose of the paint dropped off at Paintback locations across Sydney. Acrylic paint is dried out or hardened, then disposed of in landfill. The exception is a tiny fraction of the acrylic waste paint which is mixed with oil-based waste paint and used as a fuel for cement kilns.

Why paint reuse?

Many of us try to reduce our environmental footprint by reducing, reusing and recycling. But for many essential products, including decorative paints, there have been no recycled or reused products on the market in Sydney.

Enter Circle Paints, an affordable way to reduce the carbon footprint of your project. Around 10 million kilograms of paint waste goes to landfill in Australia each year, and we've found a way to reduce this unnecessary waste.

Circle Paints was inspired by the story of Seagulls Reuse in Leeds UK, a paint reuse social enterprise that has gone from strength to strength since 2005.