Recycling leftover paint is an important green issue in Leeds
PUBLISHED: 13:36 30 January 2013 | UPDATED: 22:40 20 February 2013
Seagulls environmental team are flying high in Leeds
An innovative recycling enterprise to keep leftover paint from going to landfill has collected a staggering 400 tonnes of paint from half-filled pots from nine household waste sorting sites in Leeds.
Founders of the social enterprise Cat Pearson and Kate Moree have been picking up emulsion and gloss that normally requires specialist disposal from distinctive pink pods at the citys recycling sites.
Rather than disposing of the unwanted and potentially environmentally hazardous paint, they mix and resell it to the public at low prices.
The service has proved extremely popular with hundreds of tonnes of leftover paint being sold from Seagulls base in Kirkstall Road, which is particularly impressive when you consider that for every tonne of paint reused, Seagulls prevent 2.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from going into Leeds atmosphere.
Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment on Leeds City Council, said: Seagulls offer a unique reuse service that we are delighted to support. Unused paint has to be disposed of safely so its far better to reuse it; its better for the environment and helps us achieve our recycling targets.
But its the ethos behind Seagulls that really makes it stand out. Not only are the team helping us reduce the citys impact on the environment, they are providing a product at an affordable price while supporting jobs and encouraging volunteers.
Cat Pearson, co-founder of Seagulls, believes their continuing partnership with the council has put their social business on a much stronger footing.
With a regular supply from the councils sites, we can go on meeting the growing demand for affordable paint, she added.
Since their contract with Leeds City Council began, Cat and Kate have been able create four new jobs, now employing 10 people and working with 20 volunteers to supply around 4,500 customers a year.
Unfortunately, some of the paint collected by Seagulls cant be reused and needs specialist disposal. The team is currently looking for sponsors to help with disposal costs so they can plough money back into their not-for-profit operation.
For more information, visit seagullsreuse.org.uk.