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Paint Packaging Made to Cut Waste

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

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Taking a tip from toothpaste, an award-winning new spin on the 150-year-old paint can could slash both product and packaging waste, its designer says.

Alec Machin's novel design has captured the new Richard Howarth Award from Britain's Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).

RSA is a nonprofit "committed to finding innovative practical solutions to today’s social challenges."

Saving Paint

In England, those challenges include 50 million liters of wasted paint each year, RSA says.

Spilled paint
Creative Commons

About 75 million gallons of paint purchased in the U.S. are unused. Conventional paint cans, designed in the 19th century, allow the contents to dry out, says Alec Machin.

Machin's container features a one-way pouring valve that prevents paint from drying out; a storage bag that maintains its temperature; and a container, lid and valve that can all be recycled to reduce package waste.

The Howarth Award is a new RSA Student Design Award sponsored by an Apple industrial designer and former RSA Student Design Award winner. Machin is studying for his masters in Product Design and Manufacture (MEng) at the University of Nottingham.

'Ever-Growing Pile'

In the U.S., about 75 million gallons of paint each year are unused and eventually discarded. The metal paint can, largely unchanged since 1868, offers little protection to preserve its contents.

dECOrative paint can
RSA

Alec Machlin's paint package consumes less room than cans do for shipping.

"Other than actually holding paint, the traditional paint can offers very few benefits at all," Machin told fastcoexist.com.

"There's an ever-growing pile of old half-used paint cans sitting in my garage. Most of the containers have been deformed in some way . . . and a large amount of the paint which has been left in the container has already dried out.”

What's New

Machin's design, called DECORATE PAINT, is smaller than traditional paint cans, so consumers can purchase less paint at a time.

In addition, the novel one-way valve (think of a tube of toothpaste) protects the contents from drying out. And a special coating, using the same material in emergency blankets, protects the paint from heat and cold in a garage.

dECOrate paint package
RSA

A one-way valve prevents the paint from drying out, and unused containers can fold flat for shipping, the designer says.

The hexagonal package can also be shipped flat and, when assembled, fits more efficiently on trucks than conventional cans, the developer says.

As one of two Howarth Award winners, Machin will receive £2,125 ($3,600 USD) to help bring his design to market.

   

Tagged categories: Architectural coatings; Design; Green design; Paint disposal

Comment from Sarah Marble, (8/13/2014, 8:03 AM)

Pretty neat idea for pre-pigmented paints. Does it have a handle with which to carry it?


Comment from Scott Farnsley, (8/13/2014, 8:33 AM)

VERY interesting concept. Others have tried, with mixed results, to change the basic paint can design (Sherwin Williams Dutch Boy brand comes to mind). Their plastic can with the built in handle fits better with the tinting and mixing equipment in paint stores, dealers and home centers. Being able to tint the paint product and shake/mix it using existing equipment will be critical to any redesigned packaging's success.


Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (8/14/2014, 8:18 AM)

I am concerned about how well a thin plastic bag will protect the paint over the long term. I've used ~10 year old acrylic latex out of a previously opened, then resealed steel can for some touchup inside my house, and it was still in fine shape despite being stored in a non-temperature-controlled garage in Texas. Color matched, no curdling, settled solids redispersed well.


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