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1. Introduction

This report provides a case study of current unused/unwanted paint and paint packaging recovery programmes in New Zealand and examines the potential impact that product stewardship legislation might have on this sector from the perspective of the paint industry.

Product stewardship is defined as:

An approach whereby producers, importers, brand owners, retailers, consumers and other parties involved in the life cycle of a product accept a responsibility for the environmental impacts of the products through their life cycle. This can include upstream impacts from the choice of materials and the manufacturing process, through to downstream impacts from the use and disposal of products.

Traditionally, product stewardship has manifested itself as producers developing programmes for the safe handling of their products once consumers have finished with them. These programmes can take a producer responsibility approach, being set up and run solely by a producer or group of producers, or they can take a shared responsibility approach whereby local authorities, retailer and consumers become closely involved.

The New Zealand Government is developing a product stewardship policy for New Zealand. To date, the Government's approach has been to encourage voluntary, industry-led product stewardship schemes.

A discussion document released in 2005 set out options for modifications to this approach. Key to these modifications is the potential for more formal regulation to make schemes more effective and stable. The Ministry for the Environment wants this study to look at the current issues with disposal and recycling of paint in New Zealand and determine whether there is a need for a more formal product stewardship approach to be taken, or if changes can be made to the current situation to improve performance.

The brief for this study was to examine the paint sector in order to get an industry view on how a national product stewardship policy could work most effectively and efficiently at a "nuts & bolts" level.

This report provides:

  • a description of the paint industry and market in New Zealand;
  • an overview of the environmental issues surrounding the disposal of post-consumer paint;
  • a description of the current paint recovery programmes in New Zealand;
  • an analysis of these schemes and future options against the Government's policy objectives;
  • a review of how product stewardship legislation might interact with paint recovery in New Zealand.

A sector group comprising representatives from five paint companies (almost 100% of the market) and a specialist recycler assisted in the development and review of this case study in order to ensure that industry views were well represented.