Make a sustainable choice with Resene

Resene has an extensive range of Environmental Choice approved paints that have been independently verified, including VOC free and an extensive range of low VOC products.

Once you have finished decorating, return your unwanted paint and paint packaging to the Resene PaintWise recycling and product stewardship programme and let us take care of them for you. Or if you prefer to get someone else to do the work for you, hire a Resene Eco. Decorator Resene Eco.Decorators are a nationwide network of environmentally responsible, quality focussed painting contractors so you can hire them to complete your decorating projects with the confidence that the contractor is committed to sustainable work principles in their work processes.

Environmental Choice
Environmental Choice NZ

Reaffirming our commitment to the environment... more
Resene Paintwise
PaintWise paint recycling

Paint recovery - reduce, reuse, recycle with Resene... more
Sensitive Choice
Sensitive Choice

Living with asthma and allergies. A guide to non-medical options... more
Resene Eco.Decorator

Environmentally responsible, quality focussed painting contractors... more

Make a sustainable choice

"Capable of being continued with minimum long-term effect..." more
Resene WashWise portable wash system
Resene WashWise

The Resene WashWise system is portable, quick and easy to use... more
New Zealand Green Building Council
NZ Green Building Council

Resene - founding member of the New Zealand Green Building Council... more

Diamond Certified
Resene - Enviro-Mark Diamond certified
2008 and 2010 Green Ribbon Award
Award Winner
Green Ribbon Award - Category: Innovative solutions for the environments
Resene is a Winner of a Sustainable 60 award
Award Winner
Winner Sustainable 60 awards - Exemplar and Marketplace
Resene won a  Sustainable Business of the Year 2010 award
Award Winner
Resene - Sustainable Business of the Year 2010

Painting the town green

Along with the technical innovation, Resene has always been keenly aware of the need to reduce the risk products may present to customers and the environment, long before it became fashionable. Not only did the basic innovation of Resene waterborne paints reduce the level of toxic solvents, but other steps such as the removal of lead from Resene decorative paints in the late 1960s have been well ahead of their time. As paint ingredients have become identified as causing concerns for health, Resene has always immediately put into place research to identify safer paint ingredients.

Imagine if you can using a vermilion paint coloured by pigments made from a mercury compound to paint your bathroom, or perhaps choosing a green paint containing arsenic to finish the fence painting. Both scenarios are ridiculous to contemplate today, yet were commonplace less than a century ago. Paint manufacturing has certainly come a long way since then, with toxic substances such as mercury, arsenic and more recently, lead, no longer acceptable ingredients in the paint chemist's repertoire.

These restrictions are just the tip of the iceberg. Recent attention has focused on the effect of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions on our environment. It is estimated by the Paint Quality Institute that 10% of the ozone depleting substances in the urban United States are a direct result of VOC emissions from surface coatings, including mainly standard household paints.

Paints are manufactured using a wide range of organic and inorganic materials. They can contain components that can impact adversely on the environment at different stages of the product s life cycle releasing solvents and toxic substances during production, application, the service life of the coating and disposal.

In response to growing concerns over VOC emissions, the Environmental Choice programme focuses on the need to reduce these emissions. Solventborne paints release significantly more VOCs per litre than waterborne paints, spurring Resene chemists to develop waterborne replacements for solventborne products.

Trim, joinery and wet areas were traditionally no-go areas for waterborne paints due to a tendency to soften under prolonged exposure to moisture and poor block resistance (the ability of a paint to not stick to itself when two painted surfaces come into contact).

Resene's introduction of waterborne enamels in 1996 - Resene Enamacryl and Resene Lustacryl - was a breakthrough offering a viable alternative to solventborne products. And customers clearly agreed - less than five years later, Resene Enamacryl and Resene Lustacryl easily outsold their solventborne equivalents. The waterborne enamel range has now been extended to include Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen and Resene SpaceCote Flat for interior use on broadwall, wet areas and trim and joinery.

Focused research and development has led to low odour Resene Zylone Sheen being launched in a VOC free version, Resene Zylone Sheen VOC Free, providing all the benefits of the popular Resene Zylone Sheen with no added VOCs. And with the introduction of Resene non VOC machine colourants, colours can be tinted into an extensive range of Resene decorative products without the addition of unwanted VOCs

In 1996, just 8% of the decorative paint sold by Resene was solventborne compared to 20% for other major paint companies, while the average per litre VOC levels of Resene decorative paint sales have dropped by over 90% in the last two decades, clearly demonstrating Resene s commitment to proactively develop and launch environmentally preferable waterborne technologies to the market.

Environmental Choice

Resene is well-known for its role in introducing waterborne paint to the local market in the 1950s and for its groundbreaking move to remove lead from its decorative paint products in the late 1960s. Joining the Environmental Choice programme in 1996 was another logical step, reaffirming our commitment to the environment. Resene have the only comprehensive range of Environmental Choice paints in New Zealand approved since 1996.

Environmental choice
Resene have the only comprehensive range of Environmental Choice paints in New Zealand, approved since 1996

Environmental Choice is a programme endorsed by the Ministry for the Environment. It is aimed at improving the quality of the environment by minimising the adverse environmental impacts generated by the production, distribution, use and disposal of products.

Joining the Environmental Choice programme also gave Resene the impetus to solve a common headache for customers caused by strong smelling paint. The solution came in two parts: Resene chemists removed virtually all odorous material from Resene Zylone Sheen, Resene Zylone 20 and Resene Ceiling Paint, giving users high quality products without strong smelling solvent odours. The end result? Users could paint interior areas and put the area back into service almost immediately, rather than waiting for days for the strong smelling odours to disappear. The incidence of headaches, asthma, nausea, respiratory complaints and allergic reactions can also be easily reduced by simply choosing to use a low odour paint. While Resene paint odour levels are not high, the patented low odour technology in Resene Zylone Sheen, Resene Zylone 20 and Resene Ceiling Paint provides more pleasant working and living conditions for those sensitive to paint odours during painting.

The second part of the solution was to introduce waterborne products that could be used in place of solventborne products, such as Resene Enamacryl and Resene Lustacryl. With the launch of these products, customers reaped the benefits of easy water washup, lower odour and a fraction of the VOCs of the solventborne products they had traditionally been forced to use for wet areas, trim and joinery.

Improved work environments

Improved working environments lead to improved concentration levels and a greater feeling of well-being for users, as well as placing less stress on the body's natural defences. Improvements in the quality of the working environment benefit those who are most at risk through handling the product every day. This is highlighted by the inclusion of the Resene Decorator trade range of paints in the Environmental Choice programme. Compliance to the heavy metal requirements of the Environmental Choice programme, as practised by Resene for over 30 years, also avoids possible poisoning of people, animals, food chains and environment.

Just as our customers call Australasia home, so do we. Therefore it is central to our way of operating that we continuously strive to reduce the adverse effects of paint on the environment. Choose to specify and use Environmental Choice products wherever you can and help Resene keep the environment green. Look for the EC logo on our product data sheets and paint containers - it is confirmation that the product meets the requirements of the Environmental Choice programme.

Our policy covers a comprehensive range of waterborne primers, undercoats, topcoats, pigmented and clear coatings, mastics and specialised waterproofing and textured coatings. Resene can offer an environmental choice for almost all painting situations. Our Environmental Choice products are from the existing range of Resene paints, confirming our commitment to quality and reaffirming that you don t need to sacrifice quality and sustainable product performance to get an environmentally preferable option. Resene products are formulated with high quality ingredients and manufactured to strict specifications then tinted when required with highly concentrated tinters to provide desired colour solutions without significant loss in paint performance. The quality of the tinters and tones allows the same spectrum of colours to be supplied for both interior and exterior use with most colours requiring only two topcoats to cover.

All Resene products are manufactured under a quality system certified as complying with ISO 9001. Most Resene Environmental Choice products are approved by the Australian Paint Approvals Scheme (APAS).


Resene has for many years actively improved the sustainability of our products and systems and now we are reaching out further to painting contractors with the new Eco.Decorator programme.

Eco Decorator

The Resene Eco.Decorator programme has been designed to recognise a nationwide network of environmentally responsible, quality focused painting contractors. Painting contractors can choose to undergo assessment for the Resene Eco.Decorator programme, which will include assessments of principles in practice, sustainable work practices, waste management, project plans and project sign off processes. Successfully meeting the standards will enable contractors to promote their business as a Resene Eco.Decorator enabling specifiers to request the services of an Eco.Decorator to complete sustainability focused or Green Star NZ projects with the confidence that the contractor is committed to sustainable principles in their work processes.

Paint recovery - reduce, reuse, recycle with Resene

Recognising that environmentally friendly products are just one piece of the sustainability matrix, Resene has also launched the Resene PaintWise programme, focused on delivering unwanted paint and paint packaging recovery services and education to minimise the impact of paint wastes on the environment.

Following nearly five years of development, Resene PaintWise, the first comprehensive local product stewardship program for home decorators, was launched in 2004 by Resene to encourage paint users to minimise the effects of their decorating on the environment. The first year of Resene PaintWise included an unwanted paint and paint packaging recovery trial in Auckland to help homeowners recycle and dispose of their unwanted paint and paint packaging. Thousands and thousands of cans were returned to the Resene PaintWise service, some empty, many partially full of paint. Waterborne paint was donated to community groups, metal cans were recycled and solventborne paint sent to solvent recovery to allow the solvents to be reused in other industries.

Responsible recovery progressed rapidly following the 2004 trial, with a permanent Resene PaintWise service being launched in Auckland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty on 1 September 2005, in the South Island on 1 August 2006 and the lower North Island in 2007. Residents in those areas can bring in unwanted paint and paint packaging, any brand, to selected Resene ColorShops. A PaintWise mobile truck service visits the stores, processing the materials received before returning to its depot. Good quality Resene paint is provided free to community groups, other waterborne paint is consolidated and provided to uses such as graffiti obliteration work, metal packaging is recycled and solventborne paint is sent to solvent recovery. Returned paint is also being incorporated into Resene PaintCrete, which uses the properties of the paint to improve the properties of concrete.

In the two years to end of 2008, over 300,000 packs were collected from Resene ColorShops and over 100,000kg from council depots. Of this, over 120,000kg of steel was recycled, over 80,000 litres of solventborne paint was sent to solvent recovery so the solvents could be reused and over 60,000 litres of waterborne paint was donated to community groups, much of which was used to cover graffiti.

The programme doesn't stop there though. The Resene PaintWise service is proactively being expanded to make paint and paint packaging recovery a reality for more and more paint users.

More than just green product

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 faster impacting on the environment and requiring more frequent maintenance and repainting.

Tailoring products to conditions allows Resene to provide a comprehensive range of paint system solutions from products through to accessories to ensure the paint system performance and lifetime is maximised, including a specialist range of primers and sealers to treat the surface conditions prior to the application of the desired topcoats. Focusing on fit for purpose and delivering paint systems that work with the substrate and the environment means things get done right first time, minimising wasted resources when the wrong paints are specified or applied.

Reusable boxes for packaging Resene paints
The Resene box recycling system

Resene critically evaluates key raw materials and the manner they are sourced and is prepared to pay a premium for ingredients that have demonstrably least impact on the environment, such as titanium dioxide purchases that could be sourced from developing countries with more wasteful processing techniques, but instead are purchased more expensively from manufacturers who use least waste methods. Resene wash solvents are recycled to avoid waste while waterborne factory wash water is reused as a priority and what cannot be reabsorbed into the manufacturing process is treated in a specialised plant.

Sustainability is more than just green products and sustainable product performance, it is also focused on effectively and efficiently conducting business while minimising negative impacts on the environment. Resene continually works to improve all site operations from providing secure bunding to avoid accidental spills in the main factory site to having individual spill kits available in Resene ColorShops to ensure any accidental spills are quickly contained.

Distributing paint around the country requires lots of cardboard boxes. Many of these are passed onto customers buying large volumes of paint. The rest are returned to Resene using the Resene box recycling system. Resene ColorShops flatten spare boxes and place into the special box recycling cartons then return full boxes to the central Resene warehouse. The boxes are then assembled into a box again and reused for future paint production. The boxes are made of sturdy cardboard so can do many round trips before requiring replacement.

Resene innovations, such as waterborne enamels, highly durable tinting systems and more recently CoolColour™ technology, all improve the durability and performance of the paint system. Resene CoolColour technology formulated into exterior paints enables them to reflect some of the heat that would normally be absorbed by a standard colour version, reducing heat build up and stress on the coating, substrate and surface improving the longevity of each, keeping homes and buildings cooler.


Resene has long recommended the 'two container' system for cleaning decorating tools and accessories as it is easy to do and minimises water and solvent use and continues to do so today. This system is quick and simple and ideal for most projects with no investment other than a couple of large containers. However, for those that prefer to have a wash unit, Resene has worked with RA Industries of Australia to offer their Reclaimer system.

Resene WashWise Reclaimer

RA Industries design and manufacture the Reclaimer system and they have been sold and used successfully in Australia for many years. All waste suspended in water can be treated in the system - printer's inks, cement effluent, tiler’s, painter’s, renderers and artist’s washout can all go into the Reclaimer system.

The Resene WashWise Reclaimer is portable, quick and easy to use with quick separation, requires only a low quantity of treatment chemicals reducing the materials needed to separate the water and paint, and the water phase can be used as the primary wash for application equipment and returned to the unit minimising water consumption. The grey water from a Reclaimer until after 1 hour of settling will pass through a 5 micron filter. After 12 hours settlement it will pass through a 0.5 micron carbon filter. The technology is based on the same flocculation techniques used in paint factories that require stages of additives and agitation. All that is needed for ongoing use is Resene WashWise Reclaimate.

Each Resene WashWise Reclaimer is manufactured from industrial grade fibreglass and coated on the inside with chemical resistant gel coat. This provides a durable long-term solution that can stand up to the rigours of the weather. The high quality effluent produced by this system can be reused saving massive amounts of potable water. Field-testing shows that 95% of the original water can be saved each treatment and reused. A Mk1 300 litre Reclaimer can therefore recycle the content of the holding tank 20 times and have 50 litres remaining in the tank. This equates to a saving of approximately 2,500 litres of potable water. If the system is in permanent use in a static situation the holding tank can be regularly topped up and polished to extend water quality and water savings. The Reclaimer system has been thoroughly tested and confirmed for use by The Queensland Government and separately by Sydney Water in conjunction with the Master Painters Association of NSW.

With the Resene WashWise Reclaimer taking care of all waterborne paint wash waste, the Resene 'two container' system can be used to take care of the solventborne wash.

Greening charts

Resene proactively prints brochures, labels, many colour charts, and the Resene News, on sustainable paper stocks, so sourcing sustainable paper stock for our colour charts was a natural step.

Resene has worked with its main colour chart supplier, Color Communications, for nearly 18 months to test a vast variety of sustainable paper stocks for durability and aesthetics so that Resene can complete the transition of the last of our charts to sustainable paper stocks. Being the first time that the colour chart supplier had been asked to help develop sustainable stock options, finding paper stocks that would stand up to the demands of colour chart production was a surprisingly slow process with many sustainable paper stocks too lightweight to withstand the twisting and pulling of colour chips. Numerous production trials later stocks have been confirmed and will be in production in late 2007.

Resene colour charts are finished in Environmental Choice approved Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen, Resene SpaceCote Flat, Resene Enamacryl Metallic and Resene Non-Skid Deck & Path, while the remainder are finished in waterborne inks. Not only do the Resene paints give a truer representation of the actual colour, but they also reduce solvent emissions compared to traditional solventborne lacquers. This is a stark contrast to overseas colour chart production, where much of the colour chart market is still based on direct deposit colour swatches using solventborne lacquers.

Recycling painted plasterboard

With construction waste and building materials making up a major portion of waste going into landfills, many manufacturers are focusing their efforts on finding recycling options.

Recycle painted plasterboard

Winstone Wallboards currently has a programme in place where GIB® Board offcuts are crushed then used as a compost additive or applied directly to land as a soil additive. The GIB® Board helps to break down the clay content, particularly useful given that high clay soils are common in many areas.

It has been a common misconception that only unpainted GIB® Board could be recycled in this manner. However independent testing commissioned by Resene and Winstone Wallboards has shown this to be a complete fallacy. GIB® Board painted with Resene Environmental Choice paints can be recycled as compost or soil additives in the same manner as unpainted GIB® Board.

With the growing demand for green systems, materials recycling and consideration of the whole of life of the material stream, the benefits of specifying Resene Environmental Choice approved paints extend from low or no VOCs on application through to the ability to recycle the plasterboard when future renovations are undertaken. Most Resene interior decorative paints have Environmental Choice approval so you can choose from an extensive range of sheen levels from gloss through to flat to suit your design plans and still enable the plasterboard to be recycled at the end of its useful life in the building.

What is Keep New Zealand Beautiful?

Keep New Zealand Beautiful provides community-based activities and educational programmes that inspire and motivate New Zealanders to participate in the restoration, enhancement and protection of their local environment. Currently there is a nationwide network of 43 volunteer affiliate programmes working to improve the quality of their local environment.

Keep New Zealand Beautiful program

These affiliates work in partnership with local government, business and community organisations on a wide range of projects that including planting, waste minimisation, litter removal and environmental education.

Keep New Zealand Beautiful is an umbrella organisation that has since the 1960s co-ordinated the work of hundreds of thousands of volunteers who have worked to improve local environments. The challenge has been to go beyond simply enlisting people to pick up litter and to address the issues that lead to people creating litter in the first place.

Resene is proud to support Keep New Zealand Beautiful and has special paint discounts available to approved Keep New Zealand Beautiful projects. To apply, simply send in details of your project to your local Keep New Zealand Beautiful co-ordinator.

Resene Paint is proud to support Keep New Zealand Beautiful
Just one example of their work. Keep NZ Beautiful is working hard to cover unsightly graffiti in Wellington. Find out more… Wellington Regional Council - be the difference

Join the ALB (Anti-Litter Bug) fanclub
Join the ALB (Anti-Litter Bug) fanclub – a great way for children to learn how to keep NZ beautiful.

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Resene Paints Ltd

Choose your Resene paint colours

Our vision is to be respected as an ethical and sustainable company and acknowledged as the leading provider of innovative paint and colour technology. View Resene’s profile and Environmental Policy.

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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.

PO Box 924, Beenleigh, Queensland 4207
P: 1800 738 383. F: 1800 064 960

New Zealand:
PO Box 38242, Wellington Mail Centre, Lower Hutt 5045
P: +64 (4) 577 0500, 0800 RESENE (737 363). F: (04) 577 0600