Paint belongs on walls

by Seagulls Paint in Leeds, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 30th December 2023 we successfully raised £26,062 with 258 supporters in 42 days

We're aiming to save more paint from landfill & give back to people who can’t afford to decorate their home. Paint belongs on walls.

by Seagulls Paint in Leeds, England, United Kingdom

Seagulls is a social enterprise with an environmental and social mission. Seagulls is a community built around the world’s most eco-friendly paint store. Seagulls is a Leeds Institution, a community and place that is a beacon for environmental action and education. 


Seagulls was founded around a kitchen table by 2 women who wanted to make a difference to their local environment, whilst providing training, volunteering and employment opportunities for people in Leeds. What they lacked in business acumen they made up for in passion and the enterprise has grown organically over the last 20+ years.


We have been collecting leftover household paint since 2005 and we estimate that 200,000 people have visited our paint store. 


Planet: we have reprocessed over 4 million litres of paint that would have otherwise been destined for landfill, this is enough to fill 2 Olympic swimming pools. If paint goes to landfill it creates carbon which is bad for the environment. If all the paint we have collected had ended up in landfill you’d have to have planted 68 million trees to capture the carbon.

We (simply) reprocess the paint and resell it in our paint store. By reselling it we are avoiding the CO2e loss. Paint is made from a collection of chemicals, minerals and liquids. There is an impact associated with its manufacture, distribution and packaging. To make something and then throw it away or burn it is not good enough as we rush to reach net-zero.

People: We invest in skills. We invest in people whose skills haven’t always been acknowledged in the mainstream economy. We all have value, if we are valued. We help stop people falling between the cracks. Since we started we have worked with over  300 people on voluntary placements.  Watch this video to hear from our team what Seagulls means to them.

Paint: Paint is our blood; it’s the activity that brings us together, earning us money, fulfilling our environmental purpose and enabling people to create their own sense of place by making their house a home. Our paint has enabled us to form our community. It’s messy, physically challenging and hands on. It’s not for everyone and it is hard graft but this kind of work is great for encouraging team work. Paint provides purpose and people feel good about the environmental benefits as well as building their confidence and skills. We have offered volunteering opportunities for many years with many success stories (including our current staff team).





Our Vision

The Problem

The UK produces 55 million litres of leftover paint every year, that’s enough to fill 20 Olympic swimming pools. In Leeds, we know we are only scratching the surface of leftover paint and we want to divert more paint. We often get approached by commercial companies to accept their leftover paint but we have to turn it away. Why? Because we have a capacity issue. Our demand currently matches the amount we collect, our shelves couldn’t cope with more paint.


The solution

1. Expand our paint collections by engaging with commercial businesses and accepting trade paint.

2. Reprocess the paint.

3. Give paint away. 

There is demand for paint and as the cost of living crisis bites, there is a large, marginalised section of the community who simply cannot afford to paint their home. We recognise the value of making your house a home and the positive effects of redecoration. We will offer Paint Packs to people most in need. Paint will go on walls and not in the ground.

Giving paint away to people who would otherwise be unable to afford to buy it means we will have capacity to accept lots more leftover paint thus diverting more paint away from landfill.


What’s in a paint pack?

Paint packs include a choice of paint colours, basic tools and equipment. What's in the pack will depend on the needs of the family or individual and this will be discussed with them and their support worker. There will be an option for Seagulls to deliver the paint if needs be.

We are aiming to give away paint to 250 + households at a cost of £30,000.

Who will get a paint pack?

We will target referrals via our existing contacts with housing and support providers. Paint packs benefit low income families, those moving into social housing (nearly always not decorated), those being supported to live independently e.g. a result of domestic violence, homelessness, care and prison leavers.

There is a need to help people’s mental health during these difficult times. The impact of paint really helps people improve their homes. We receive many requests for paint from people struggling with the cost of living crisis and the impact this is having on their mental health. By spreading some colour and love we know we are making a difference to people's lives.


Project Paint with Purpose is a win win scenario. More paint will be diverted from landfill and lots of people will benefit from free paint. As well as saving paint from landfill and helping people decorate their homes the project will help boost Seagulls sales, open up more volunteering opportunities and secure the jobs of our current staff team.


We've kept the rewards simple and are offering the following: Seagulls beanies, t shirts and paint. Beanies and t shirts will be posted within 48 hours of the donation being made. Paint can be collected from the store also within 48 hours of the donation.



Our paint is saved from the ground, our paint belongs on walls, our paint has purpose. 



This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£25 or more

£25 T shirt Reward

Become a Seagull and join us in wearing a paint with purpose t shirt! Black fruit of the Loom t shirt with white writing. If the pledge is made by 4th December we should be able to guarantee Xmas delivery.

£10 or more

12 of 30 claimed

£20 Reward

Ey Up enamel pin badge that we created with local sign writer and artist Babb sabbath. The pin is lilac with glitter gold text. Postage included and will be sent as soon as the pledge is made.

£15 or more

£15 for 5 ltr tub of paint and opener

This reward entitles you to a 5 litre tub of paint straight from the shelf. This gives you a little discount! You will also receive a paint tin opener. This will need to be collected from the paint store.

£15 or more

47 of 51 claimed

£15 Seagulls beanie

A khaki green beanie with a little leather logo. Perfect for colder days

£25 or more

£25 Paint Pack Reward

This reward includes a 5 litre tub of paint straight off the shelf, paint tin opener and a Harris roller set. This will need to be collected from the paint store.

£15 or more

16 of 16 claimed

Coral Seagulls beanie

£15 Seagulls beanie A khaki green beanie with a little leather logo. Perfect for colder days

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