Paint Green: Inspiring change through positive intent

11 September 2023

The Painting and Decorating Association (PDA) is urging tradespeople to take the Paint Green Pledge, a transformative initiative aimed at encouraging environmental action.

David Elphick, Account Development Manager for Bagnalls Restoration, explores the details of the Paint Green movement and how it seeks to change mindsets to drive real change.

While recycling options for paint containers and waste exist in the UK, adoption within the industry remains disappointingly low. According to BCF (British Coating Federation) PaintCare figures from 2021, just 2% of waste paint gets recycled, and only 1 in 3 tradespeople dispose of their waste paint responsibly at recycling centres. The breakdown at this link in the chain thwarts the industry’s positive steps.

The PDA, the UK’s largest trade association, covering 12,000 members, is taking on this challenge and endeavours to inspire everyone to reduce waste through positive means.

Shifting mindsets, not ticking boxes

Neil Ogilvie, CEO of the PDA, is spearheading the initiative. Neil emphasises that Paint Green is not a superficial green badge. He explains, “We understand that a lot of tradespeople will be used to doing things in a certain way. We’re not expecting people to change their business, tick a list of boxes and get a badge. We want to change mindsets.”

Paint Green seeks to incite simple, manageable shifts that accumulate over time, leading to substantial behavioural changes.

Neil and the PDA team envisage a future where tradespeople take pride in the positive social and environmental impacts they’ve fostered in their communities.

Pledging to Paint Green

Initially, the PDA is encouraging its members to publicly commit to waste reduction. Members gain access to a UK-wide directory featuring recycling options for paint and containers, including council-run centres, manufacturer programmes like Paint 360 and community initiatives such as Community RePaint. Community groups will also be connected with local contractors for direct partnerships. Members are simply asked to maintain a basic tally of their recycling and contributions.

Leading the way

Though initially aimed at sole traders, Paint Green receives a significant boost from influential industry players. Neil comments that “having an example to follow is really powerful, leadership by contractors like Bagnalls is massive.”

Joanne Gualda, Bagnalls’ Group Marketing Director, asserts that “as a leader in the sector, supporting Paint Green aligns with Bagnalls’ commitments to community and sustainability.”

Members inspiring members

Neil emphasises that the scheme’s success hinges on member involvement. It’s flexible and allows for member-driven leadership. The objective is to spotlight contractors championing social and eco-friendly practices, inspiring others to follow suit. He comments that “the more traders that are setting examples in their local communities, the more will follow.”

Paint Green’s impact is set to be acknowledged with a dedicated category in the 2024 PDA Premier Trophy Awards. By celebrating successes, Paint Green will generate its own momentum. This will then challenge members to think about the next steps to be taken.

Joanne echoes this sentiment, “Our commitment aligns with Bagnalls’ Community Paintbrush scheme. By sharing our practices we can help smaller companies to emulate our efforts and together we can drive down waste.”

Paint Green encapsulates a collective journey of positive change for the whole of the painting industry. Small changes in individual practices can, and will, lead to meaningful industry-wide transformation.

Discover more about Paint Green here

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