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Matisse Derivan - Proudly Australian Owned and Made


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Derivan's mission statement has been kept very simple so as to enable it to be easily understood and complied with. When looking at our environmental footprint, Derivan's plan for it is simple but effective:

Mission statement extract: To become the leading supplier/manufacturer of artist's acrylics world wide by providing unsurpassed quality and service.. [by] employing environmentally sound practices both in the products and production.

Simple but effective. Following, are some of the ways Matisse Derivan is taking to minimise its environmental footprint and plan for a sustainable future.


Matisse Derivan paints do not contain Lead or Chromates of any kind. Any other heavy metals contained in the paints are fully reacted, and as such will present no biological harm if introduced to the environment as land fill. Likewise, everyday use by artists disposing of their waste wash up water on the garden, will present no biological harm. However, we would advise to dispose of waste water on non-edible plants, in keeping with known best practice.


There are several steps involved in our approach to packaging. We define containers as those containers that come in contact with the paint, (such as jars and tubes) and packaging as those products which hold the containers (such as boxes, and PET clams and boxes)


Recycling of containers for re-use by Derivan: After research we have found that the likelihood of having paint containers returned to us for re-use was, at best, very low .

The main obstacles to this strategy are:

  • That product may be kept for extended periods ( literally for decades in some cases) and continues to be used in that time, so tracking and monitoring return would be a slow process on an “individual basis”.

  • That products are sent all around the world and the environmental cost of returning them would far out way any positive effects of re-use especially taking into account the cleaning of residual contents.

Recycling of containers for re-use by Consumers:

Because of these obstacles, it was decided that the first step was to make the packaging more likely to be re-used by the consumer. (Consumers may clean out and re-use the containers for other purposes after they have used the contents.) As re-use of containers uses the least amount of resources and energy, this became a primary objective. We engaged design consultants and informally polled our customers, to arrive at the designs of our 36ml, 40ml, 50ml, 250ml and 500ml containers. We then introduced universally recyclable materials (materials that can be easily recycled at a local level eg PET) as our next objective.


This strategy was more practical than attempting to retrieve product containers.


Recycling packaging: Locally, we have a program in place to encourage “clams” and cardboard boxes to be returned to us for re-use. Internationally, returns are not viable, so these packaging products are made from recyclable (and where possible recycled) materials only (namely PET and Cardboard). For instance, at present, the PET “clam” packs, which contain the tubes, are made up of 30% in-house recycled material, and 5% post-consumer recycled material, however our suppliers are looking to improve this ratio. We keep a constant watch on new technology and new packaging innovations. Where possible, we ensure that our suppliers are using the latest energy efficient technology to produce our packaging.  


Water use and efficiency: Over the past ten years, we have reduced our water intake by more than 40% (even though production has increased 4 fold). This has been managed by:

  • Improving cleaning practices

  • Recycling primary cleaning water

  • Developing in-house initiatives with our own research team (e.g. developing alternative lubricants for machines, which in turn help to make water cleaning more efficient).

We will commission a new plant in Sydney in 2009, where we hope to be running a completely “closed water system” so that all primary cleaning and wash downs will be done with recycled water. We also plan to harvest rain water, for use in toilets and clothes cleaning. At present, we recycle approx 30% of our water for cleaning. Obviously, with the re-designing of a new plant, more efficient ways of doing this will get us to our goal of 100%.


Recycling inward bound packaging: Where possible, we recycle all packaging that makes up our raw material supply chain. This is done in several ways.

  • Through the use of pallecons and IBC’s (large raw material containers) which are returnable to the supplier

  • Through returning drums to the supplier (where possible) and recycling those that can't.

  • We have initiated the return to our suppliers of many of the outer cartons we receive containers in. Where this is not possible or energy efficient, they are recycled via a company who collects and collates like size boxes, and supplies them on to other companies. By sending the boxes off to be reused, less energy is consumed than if they were processed and made into new cardboard boxes. Those boxes, cardboard and paper that can't be recycled are sent for recycling by Visy.

  • As a last resort, a very small amount of cardboard may make it to landfill. To reduce the amount of cardboard going to landfill, we actively avoid “contaminating” ie paint or pigment staining the cardboard.

Other initiatives:

  • Developing a cycle to work program/policy;

  • Use of “enviro” shower heads in showers(in new factory);

  • Reducing the use of paper in the office and then what paper that is used is recycled paper and obsolete paper is recycled

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Matisse Derivan 1 Northcote Street Mortlake NSW 2137 Australia
Tel: (02) 9736 2022 Fax: (02) 9736 3637 Email: matisse@matisse.com.au