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    Waste-efficient paint disposal – why Dulux is credited at ‘Weapon of Mass Creation’ competition

    Deborah Singerman

    Innovative, adaptable, long-living, functional on application, and abounding with sustainable techniques, technologies and design that meet the usual environmental, economic and social values. Dulux’s EnviroSolutions came up trumps as winner of the People’s Choice Weapon of Mass Creation, awarded at March’s Green Cities annual conference in Melbourne.

    In “meeting the challenge for a sustainable future”, it is the latest example of the company’s “commitment to minimise the environmental impact of paint products”, in this instance by responsibly managing paint, paint tools and associated waste.

    The Dulux EnviroWash System and Waste Paint Hardener help trade and commercial painters with what can be the tricky disposal of leftover paint and timber coatings. Dulux’s hardner takes a whole-of-lifecycle approach, turning unwanted water-based paints and water-based timber coatings into solid waste for easy disposal – with no mess.

    It sounds straightforward. Measure the desired quantity of product using a scoop located under the lid and stir until the paint solidifies. Leave the solid waste for two hours with the lid off. Then remove the hardened paint from the can, wrap in newspaper and dispose of as hard waste. With all paint removed from the paint container, it can be disposed of in recycled waste. Available in 500 g containers, one such will solidify 10L of paint, and one level scoop will solidify 250 ml of paint.

    The new Dulux EnviroWash System is a water-based treatment system promoted by Dulux as being the first its kind in the Australian market. It washes out painting tools, such as brushes and rollers, converting paint washings into clear water and solid waste, allowing for easier and safer disposal.

    Paint equipment and tins are washed out in transportable units provided for painting contractors and permanent on-site maintenance groups. This is useful for cleaning up especially with many local authorities making site waste management plans compulsory.

    The units are made up of two parts - the sink and a separate filtration tank. They separate paint washings into clear water and solid paint. A spray gun is used to wash rollers, brushes, paint trays, pots and anything else that has been used during painting.

    Once the unit is full, treatment chemicals separate the solid matter and water from the paint washings. Treatment times vary depending on the capacity of the unit and concentration of paint washings though Dulux indicates it is best to allow 1-6 hours for the clear water to stay in the top of the tank and paint sludge to go to the bottom, and remain there. Typically, 450 L of paint water discharge produces 5 kg of solid paint residue.

    Clear water can be recycled into other trade-related applications, or released onto flat grassy areas and gardens. Remaining paint sludge is filtered, ready for removal and drying. Once the residue is dry, it can be disposed of as non-hazardous solid waste. Accompanying videos with instructions make sure you  waste no time learning how to use the system.

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