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Innovation Stories: ReNue Recycling

Look past the charming name on the paint can and you may see list of toxic chemicals that have the potential to create an environmental mess if handled improperly. For this reason, paint is one of Alberta Recycling Management Authority’s four priority areas.

While we’ve made great strides to keep paint out of our landfills, until recently "only 70% of unused paint was able to be recycled for commercial or residential applications,” says Ed Gugenheimer, CEO of the Alberta Recycling Management Authority (ARMA). “Thanks to a creative new Albertan company, the remaining 30% can now be used as well.”

Established in 2019, ReNue Recycling is giving old paint, new life. The company is the product of a partnership between Calibre Environmental and KBL Environmental. Both entities are known for their commitment to leading-edge solutions and stewardship.

“These days most do-it-yourselfers and professionals prefer latex paint,” explains Jeff Dirks, Director of ReNue Recycling. “In addition to being easy to clean, it contains fewer hazardous ingredients than its oil based counterparts, but there are some recycling hurdles.”

Latex paint has always been recycled through separation by colours followed by the filtering and tinting of the product. This method allows for 70% of the paint to be reused as fresh paint, so it has typically been considered an environmentally beneficial option. The challenge has always been finding a useful purpose for the remaining product.

“Recognizing the opportunity to improve environmental outcomes, we set our sights on finding a practical use for every component of leftover paint including the hard to deal with solid and semi-solid paint remnants,” says Jeff Dirks, Director of ReNue Recycling. “What we found was that it makes an excellent feedstock for cement manufacturing.”

“In 2019, residents and businesses recycled 2.19 million litres of paint.”

-Ed Gugenheimer, CEO

The new solution is a stroke of genius. Not only does the method ensure 100% of old latex paint is able to be recycled, it creates synergy between two industries, and protects the environment.

Ed adds, “we are certainly excited by this new partnership with ReNue as it will help further minimize the environmental imprint of latex paint in Albertan communities and beyond.”