35 million paintbrushes are discarded each year in the UK, clogging landfills and wasting resources, creating an estimated 5000 tons of waste. In most cases, brushes are disposed-of due to the hassle of cleaning or lack of resources to clean them properly. There is also no established waste route for brushes other than landfill.
This project saw Kingfisher Group, (Europe’s largest home improvement retailer, incorporating brands like B&Q and Screwfix) working in partnership with design consultancy The Agency of Design to explore the design of a closed loop paintbrush. The project covered both the physical design of the brush and methods of recovering the brushes to achieve a circular material flow. The brush design found innovative new construction techniques to enable material recovery, while the packaging was turned into a return system to enable consumers to return end of life brushes. The result was a new business model for Kingfisher and the design directions to realise that model.