Thank you for contacting me about the Royal Society of Chemistry’s campaign to tackle the UK’s issues around paint recycling and the waste of household paints.
As note in your email, only 27% of people who responded to the Royal Society of Chemistry’s YouGov poll said they had recycled paint they no longer need, and 82% said they probably would use a recycling facility if they had confidence leftover paint could be recycled. These findings highlight the potential to stop the significant waste of our household paint, but they also highlight that individuals are more than willing to do their part to cut waste and help our environment, and that the blame for waste too often lies with the Scottish and UK government’s failure to provide adequate resources.
It is incumbent on both the UK and Scottish Government to step up and meet this willingness to recycle leftover paint by providing the resources for households to do so. This must include the provision of adequate and much needed resources to our overstretched local authorities, who have suffered over a decade of cuts by the SNP. The inconsistency of provision across different regions will only be addressed when the Scottish Government recognise the significant challenges that local authorities face.
There is also a need to invest in research programs to advance the promising work already underway in many schemes across the UK in remanufacturing and developing sustainable alternatives for PLFs. This will help to reduce waste long term, and it is important that the UK and Scottish Government’s lead the way on investing in programmes which can improve sustainability and help us meet our climate commitments.
I am therefore happy to support the RSC’s campaign action points to 1. Provide more support to paint recycling initiatives to reduce wastage of reusable paints 2. Make it easier for consumers to recycle paints no matter where they live 3. Directly invest in research programmes for sustainable alternatives for PLFs.
My colleague Colin Smyth MSP, Scottish Labour’s spokesperson for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, has lodged a number of questions to the Scottish Government on the issues you have raised. My Scottish Labour Colleagues and myself will consider the Scottish Government’s responses closely and hold them to account to ensure that the massive and unnecessary waste of paint, and the inconsistent availability of paint recycling across the UK can be addressed and committed to the past.