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Resene has been a leader in quality paint production since 1946. The family-owned Lower Hutt company is a household name in New Zealand, renowned for its quality production of colours, coatings, wood stains and paints for exterior and interior house painting plus commercial, industrial and marine painting applications.

Nearly seven decades of innovative thinking, research and testing has forged Resene’s reputation as a bar-raiser in the paint industry. But alongside technical innovation, Resene has long been aware of the need to reduce the risk products may present to people and the environment. Less than a century ago, compounds such as mercury, arsenic and lead were commonplace in paint products. Even today’s paint can still contain components that impact adversely on the environment by releasing solvents and toxic substances during production, application, the service life of the coating and disposal.

As paint ingredients have become identified as causing concerns for health, Resene keeps itself at the forefront of research to identify safer paint ingredients. In the 1950s Resene’s revolutionary waterborne paint innovation substantially reduced the level of toxic solvents and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) compared to traditional solventborne paints. In the late 1960s the removal of lead from Resene decorative paints was also well ahead of the pack. Resene waterborne enamels were introduced in 1996 – a breakthrough technology that easily outsells solventborne equivalents.

All Resene products are manufactured under a quality system certified as complying with ISO 9001. Focused research has led to the development of low odour, low or VOC-free paints and VOC-free colourants – colours that can be tinted into an extensive range of Resene decorative products without adding unwanted VOCs. The numbers speak for themselves – average per litre VOC levels of Resene decorative paint sales have dropped by over 90% in the last two decades, while newer technologies, such as a waterborne paint with more than 50% renewable content, are coming to the fore.

“Being green is part of our DNA”

Resene were the first New Zealand paint company to offer an extensive range of Environmental Choice (New Zealand) approved paints, reaffirming their commitment to the environment. The Environmental Choice programme is endorsed by the Ministry for the Environment and is aimed at improving the quality of the environment by minimising the adverse environmental impacts generated by the production, distribution, use early and disposal of products. The Resene environmental choice range does not charge an environmental premium, nor is there any compromise on performance, colours or quality, making sustainability easy and affordable for customers. A selection of Resene paints also have Good Environmental Choice (Australia) approval.

Furthermore, the Resene Environmental Choice range of interior paints are very low odour while the exterior range includes the Resene CoolColour range formulated with special pigment technology to reflect solar heat that would normally be absorbed, reducing stress and heat build-up on the substrate. View the Resene Environmental Choice paint range here.

Resene also critically evaluates key raw materials in their supply chain and pays a premium for inputs that have demonstrably less environmental impact. Just one of Resene’s factories can consume more than 45 tons of raw materials in one day, so Resene educates both internally and externally on the environmental impacts of raw material selection and proactively purchases more eco-friendly materials – such as titanium oxide for paint, or sustainable sourced paper stock for colour charts.

The Resene Eco.Decorator programme educates those downstream of Resene – painting contractors and customers. Painting contractors can choose to undergo assessment to become part of the Resene Eco.Decorator network, which entails assessments of principles in practice, sustainable work practices, waste management, project plans and project sign off processes. Successfully meeting the standards enables contractors to promote their business as a Resene Eco.Decorator, enabling customers to complete sustainability focused or Green Star NZ projects with confidence.

To complete the sustainability cycle, product stewardship is key. Resene runs PaintWise – a world-first paint recovery and recycling programme. Conceived in 1999, Resene ColorShops around the country accept old paint or paint packaging of any brand to recycle them responsibly. To date over one million paint containers have been recycled.

More than 100,000 litres of waterborne paint have been donated to community group projects around New Zealand and to cover unwanted graffiti. Resene has also worked alongside Firth and 3R Group to launch a new product called ‘Paintcrete’ concrete that has been manufactured with the addition of waste paint in order to divert the paint from landfill, as well as making the concrete product stronger. The new product and collaboration process is part of what CEO Nick Nightingale calls “industrial ecology,” whereby reducing the amount taken from the industrial environment mitigates damage to the natural environment.

View more information on Resene PaintWise.

But Resene doesn’t stop at waste paint. Paint pails are built to last, and packaging boxes are designed to withstand 12 uses – they are marked each time they are in transit. Smarter reverse logistics with pallets and cardboard from suppliers has greatly reduced waste to landfill. Resene continues to recycle around 18 tonnes of plastic every two months, but promote the reuse of plastics before considering recycling options, including using them for bulk pack options for larger customers.

Sustainable product design almost always means efficiency and quality. Resene strongly believes that it is better to apply a high quality product that will last than apply an inferior product that will break down, impacting on the environment and requiring more frequent maintenance and repainting. Therefore, a big part of the sustainability vision for Resene is about quality: tailoring products to conditions to ensure that paint performance and lifetime is maximised, including a specialist range of primers and sealers, and delivering paint systems that work.
Resene Marketing Manager Karen Warman knows that committing to a sustainable future as a paint business is as challenging as it is rewarding. But Resene believes there is no alternative, and encourages other businesses to join the green growth movement. “Take action and make a start, then keep progressing and developing,” says Warman. “The end goal can be daunting. Rather than focusing just on that, break it down into smaller manageable projects. Over time it will add up to a massive change. Make sustainability the responsibility of everyone and ensure that senior management support it by their actions”.

Resene is a founding member of the New Zealand Green Building Council and a proud supporter of the ‘Keep New Zealand Beautiful’ campaign.

For an impressive list of Resene’s awards visit click here.

For more information on Resene, visit

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