City’s council signs five-year contract with paint recycling enterprise


A paint re-use company in Leeds has proved so successful that the City Council has renewed and extended its contract for a further five years.

Seagulls Reuse, an environmental social enterprise with a large paint store in Kirkstall, has helped to collect and recycle over 370 tonnes of paint each year in the city, of which half is re-used.

Leeds City Council is renewing and extending a contract with the upcycling social enterprise for the collection and re-use of waste paint from collection banks on the council’s eight household waste recycling sites. With their distinctive pink containers, they help to encourage householders to re-use paint and upcycle furniture rather than discard it, using their popular chalk paints which are also on sale in the Revive Leeds re-use shops at the Kirkstall and Seacroft recycling sites.

Having worked with the council since 2010, the enterprise has been collecting an average of 29 tonnes per month across all the sorting sites. Once the paint is collected, it is mixed to form new colours before offering it at lower cost to families, organisations and businesses across Leeds. The enterprise offers excellent volunteering opportunities and an avenue for employment.

Seagulls’ low-cost paint allows Leeds residents to decorate their homes and upcycle their old furniture and create more pleasant home environments for their families “on a shoestring”, saving residents an estimated £200,000 in paint costs each year. It has also allowed many community organisations, social enterprises etc. to decorate their premises on a tight budget.

The Seagulls Mosaic project has also transformed several underpasses and run-down garden areas into light, bright positive spaces that are valued by the community.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council executive member with responsibility for environment and sustainability said: “We are very pleased to be entering into a new five-year agreement to continue our partnership with Seagulls for paint re-use. This is a great example of where Leeds City Council is working together with third sector organisations to enable mutual objectives to be met.

“Seagulls provide a unique service which addresses environmental priorities by re-using paint that would otherwise be disposed of. The work they do has significant social value through their employment practices, work with local communities and their provision of reduced cost paint and other products to low income residents across Leeds.”

Cat Hyde, Project Manager at Seagulls, said: “We are very proud of the enterprise we have grown from a kitchen table. We divert a vast amount of paint from landfill whilst working with people who are often on the margins of society. We work hard to establish Seagulls within our three core aims: Planet, people and profit. Over the years we have established a solid and groundbreaking relationship with Leeds City Council to deliver a paint reuse scheme that benefits the whole city.”