BENDIGO residents clearing out their garages and sheds have contributed more than quarter of a million kilos of unwanted paint to a national recycling program.
The Paintback scheme reached a milestone birthday this month, celebrating six years in Australia.
It has collection points at Heathcote Transfer Station, Strathfieldsaye Transfer Station, Eaglehawk Eco-Centre, which have collected 263,997kgs since first opening.
Paintback chief executive Karen Gomez said some of the paint had been repurposed for industrial uses.
"The scheme receives unwanted paint - both water and oil based - and paint packaging at over 165 permanent Australian collection sites," she said.
"This significantly reduces landfill and ensures the unwanted paint doesn't end up in our waterways."
Ms Gomez said the packaging and liquids were separated and the containers were recycled.
"The solvent paint can then be converted into an alternative fuel source replacing coal," she said.
"Water is separated from acrylic paint with the by-product used in a variety of industrial applications significantly reducing landfill and the reclaimed water is used by other industries which reduces the reliance on mains water."
Ms Gomez said Australians purchased more than 100 million litres of paint each year and about five per cent of that ended up as waste.
"The best thing is to make sure you buy the right amount of paint for your project," she said.
"But if you can't, re-use your paint by dropping it off free of charge at a Paintback site and give your paint a second life.
"Many Australians still didn't know how to best get rid of old paint litres of paint each year but around five per cent of it ends up as waste, making paint and its packaging one of the biggest sources of liquid waste into landfill."
The Paintback scheme is funded by a 15 cents-per-litre levy on paint products.
Ms Gomez said the program aimed to funnel 90 per cent of unwanted paint into Australia's budding circular economy, where products were re-used or repurposed for other manufacturing or industry processes to keep them circulating, instead of being discarded permanently.
"Paintback research shows that while one in three Australians have paint stored away, more than half didn't know there (was help) to dispose of unwanted paint."
The paint is free to drop off and locations can be found online.
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