Planex Leads the Way in Powder Coat Recycling, Transforming Waste into Sustainable Green Ceramic Tiles


Powder coating technology has roots tracing back 70 years primarily in the USA. Whilst bringing many improvements over pre-existing coating methods, its waste also presented the global industry with a significant environmental challenge. In 2020, estimates indicated that over 800,000 tonnes of waste powder coat ended up in landfills worldwide. This waste, comprising nanoplastics and microplastics (NMPs), is a growing concern. Over the past decade, it’s estimated that at least 7 million tonnes of powder coat waste have been directed to landfills. These particles, expected to persist for centuries, pose a significant environmental threat. Planex has highlighted this issue, emphasizing the invisibility of particulate waste once dispersed in the environment​ (Gianello & Bhattacharya, 2020)​. The urgent need for industry-led solutions is underscored by the detrimental effects of microplastics on plants and animals, as known for many years from hundreds of scientific studies for example. ​(Hong, Wu, & Wei, 2023)​​ (Schur, 2019)​ ​(De Souza Machado AA, 2018)​.


Innovative Solutions by Planex

Since 2018, Planex has been pioneering efforts to tackle waste powder coat challenges, initiating critical dialogues with experts from Monash University in 2019 and UNSW in 2020 Despite initial challenges in finding viable solutions, Planex secured a Commonwealth Government Innovation Connections grant and partnered with Monash University’s Department of Chemical Engineering and Professor Sankar Bhattacharya to explore sustainable landfill alternatives.

Monash University’s research explored pyrolysis, offering technical solutions, though commercial interest was limited. Nevertheless, Planex continues to investigate this method’s potential. Our collaboration with Prof. Veena Sahajwalla and Anirban Ghose from the UNSW SMaRT Centre, initiated at a 2020 circular economy conference in Adelaide, led to another Innovation Connections Federal Government grant. This collaboration includes industry giants such as Dulux, AkzoNobel, AISF, and DooGoodAustralia.

The SMaRT Centre project marks a significant advancement in repurposing waste powder coat, demonstrating its ability to enhance both the aesthetic and mechanical properties of Green Ceramic tiles. Kandui Technologies is expanding operations to include slabs for benchtops offering a sustainable alternative to engineered stone products. Importantly, Green Ceramics can be recycled into new products, further enhancing their sustainability.


Planex’s Continued Commitment

Leveraging these achievements, Planex is now exploring the integration of Green Ceramic tiles into our furniture designs, starting with the xBench. Showcased at the Melbourne EcologiQ convention in September 2023, the xBench represents near-optimal material efficiency, incorporating waste powder from the steel frame coating into the tile manufacturing, thus achieving minimal waste generation.

Planex is championing a collaborative, systemic approach within the powder coat industry, advocating for sustainable practices. The move by Transmutation to use Dulux’s waste powder to manufacture plastic chairs for supporting steel mesh in the construction industry is a promising sign of accepting that this waste is a problem.


A Future Focused on Sustainability

Our commitment extends beyond environmental conservation, embodying a blend of innovation and sustainability in design. Planex is dedicated to forging a future where ecological responsibility is a fundamental aspect of architectural and design practices.

Join us at Planex in reshaping the design landscape and advancing environmental stewardship.

*Note: Green Ceramic tiles, primarily composed of recycled glass and textiles, are increasingly prominent in sustainable building. This trend is expected to accelerate with the impending government ban on engineered stone. Led by Kandui Technologies and Shoalhaven City Council, licensed by SMaRT, these tiles are becoming a preferred material for eco-conscious construction.



Gianello R and Bhattacharya S. 2020. Powder Coating: An unacknowledged waste stream Sustainability Matters

Hong Y, Wu S and Wei G. 2023. Adverse effects of microplastics and nanoplastics on the reproductive system: A comprehensive review of fertility and potential harmful interactions. Science of the total environment 903 (2023) 166258.

Schur C, Zipp S, Thalau T and Wagner M. 2019. Microplastics but not natural particles induce multigenerational effects in Daphnia magna. Environmental Pollution 260 (2020) 113904 

De Souza Machado A A,  Kloas W, et al. 2018. Microplastics as an emerging threat to terrestrial ecosystems. Glob. Change Biol. 24, 1405–1416. 10.1111/gcb.14020, PMID: [Europe PMC free article]