The entire landmass of Cork could be painted 216 times with the amount of paint wasted globally every year

22 February 2017
By Bryan Smyth

The Southern Region Waste Management Office (SRMO) has this week launched a new “Greener Homes Hints” guide aimed at assisting decorating enthusiasts with tips and ideas on a greener way to “Do It Yourself”.

The free 12 page booklet, which can also be downloaded at, will help even the most inexperienced DIY hopeful to upcycle old furniture, redecorate their homes and create new household items from pre-loved goods, while also protecting the environment.

Pauline McDonogh Waste Prevention Officer with the SRMO explained “Greener Home Hints” provides lots of ideas on how to reuse household goods, redecorate old furniture and reduce the amount of waste associated with decorating, while also helping to reduce costs and the negative impact on the environment.

“Hazardous waste collection days held in the Southern Region last year indicates that on average nine tins of paint lie in storage in Cork households at any one time, and most if not all of this paint is open but unused,” said Ms McDonogh.

“Paint waste is a global issue with approximately 55 million litres of paint a year ending up as waste. That is about 10% of all paint purchased or enough paint to cover the entire land mass of Cork 216 times,” she explained.

“The biggest contributor to this waste is the DIY market, as people who are not professional painters are not very skilled at estimating how much they need. They are also more likely to purchase extra paint as they want to avoid wasting time going back to the shop, but end up wasting paint and money instead,” added Ms McDonogh.

“This booklet is not about discouraging people from decorating their homes themselves, on the contrary, it is about pointing them towards a paint calculator, sharing new ideas on how to use up left over paint and making people aware of paint donation sites.

“The Greener Home Hints is not of course limited to painting. It also encourages upcycling and reuse of old, tired furniture and household goods, as well as telling you when it may be time to simply recycle or safely dispose of a household item,” said the SRWMO Waste Prevention Officer.

Showing her support for the Greener Home Hints, experienced furniture artist and owner of Kyle Lane Furniture Shop Joanne Condon said she was particularly pleased that people were encouraged to repair or reuse older furniture in new imaginative ways, rather than buying new automatically.

“We currently reuse less than 2% of our old bulky goods – including furniture, and there is a whole societal change needed to turn this figure into a more acceptable figure,” said Ms Condon.

“I am very hopeful however that we are on the brink of that change as up cycling furniture becomes more popular. In my experience with a little imagination and creativity even the most tired and battered piece of furniture can be reincarnated into a fresh and unique piece,” she added.

“We are all capable of finding new uses for old furniture, and there are plenty of repair and restoration specialists available in the southern region that can help at a small percent of the cost of buying furniture. A list of repair directors are available at

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