The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission proposes to authorise the Australian Paint Manufacturers’ Federation, Paint Stewardship Limited and certain paint manufacturers to introduce a 15 cents per litre levy to support a National Paint Product Stewardship Scheme.

The Federation represents paint manufacturers responsible for over 90 per cent (by volume) of paint sold in Australia. The Paint Stewardship Scheme will be a national program intended to promote the safe disposal of all waste architectural and decorative paint by both domestic and trade consumers.

“Unused, leftover or waste architectural and decorative paint often contains hazardous chemicals which can pose a risk to the environment if disposed of improperly,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“There will be better use of resources in our society because the price of disposing paint will more accurately reflect its real cost to society. The ACCC considers that the levy will result in environmental benefits by reducing the improper disposal of waste paint.”

The Federation estimates that around half of all waste paint in Australia is not disposed of properly, with both trade and retail consumers either maintaining stockpiles of leftover paint or dropping waste paint off to ordinary landfill.

The Paint Stewardship Scheme will see a significant expansion in waste paint disposal schemes. It will replace the household hazardous chemical disposal programs currently run by State and Territory governments and will also expand collection services to new fixed and mobile sites for both domestic and trade disposals. By the end of the authorisation period, the Paint Stewardship Scheme aims to provide a collection point for waste architectural and decorative paint within a reasonable distance of 85 per cent of Australia’s population.

By introducing a levy of 15 cents per litre (plus GST) on their sales of architectural and decorative paint, paint manufacturers will be able to fund the Paint Stewardship Scheme.

The ACCC proposes to grant authorisation until 1 June 2021 and will seek submissions from interested parties before making a final decision.

Authorisation provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.