Valorisation of Expired Paints

This Open Innovation challenge, delivered by the Global Alliance Africa project, is supporting Berger Paints Nigeria to identify innovations to convert aged paints, and paint fractions and components, into usable paints and other beneficial products. The innovation should have wide applicability and scalability to help transform this worldwide waste stream into commercially valuable outputs.


Challenge opens


Challenge closes



Successful applicants will be given the opportunity to pitch their solution to Berger Paints Nigeria. The winning applicant, as selected by Berger Paints Nigeria will get the opportunity to collaborate with them on a trial project. Up to GBP 25,000 seed funding is available (subject to T&Cs) to the successful finalist/s for this collaboration.


Berger Paints Nigeria is looking for methods of converting expired paints, and paint fractions and components, into usable paints and other beneficial products. The Innovation should have wide applicability and scalability to help transform this worldwide waste stream into commercially valuable outputs. 
Solutions are invited from, but not limited to, the following sectors:

  • Chemistry
  • Coatings
  • Manufacturing
  • Biotechnology
  • Plastics
  • Recycling
  • Design
  • Construction

Berger Paints Nigeria Background

Berger Paints Nigeria PLC is a leader in the Coating and Allied Industry in Nigeria since 1959 – a legacy inherited from Lewis Berger, the German Colour Chemist who founded Berger Paints in 1760.

The company has a reputation for setting standards in the paint industry in Nigeria, and has pioneered a wide range of speciality products in this dynamic and ever-changing market. Berger Paints Nigeria PLC is the first company to unveil an ultramodern fully automated factory with an annual capacity of 10,000,000 litres of paint production.

They operate in 5 business segments: Decorative/Architectural finishes, Industrial coatings, Marine & Protection coatings, Automotive/Vehicle refinishes, Wood Finishing and Preservers. These are supported with a manufacturing plant and main distribution centre in Lagos, over 25 depots/business partners’ outlets, Colour World centres and a countrywide distribution network of dealers in strategic locations. 

They are committed to development and manufacture of paints and allied coatings which are technologically correct, environmentally friendly and formulated to withstand harsh tropical conditions. They have a partnership arrangement with the biggest heavy-duty coating manufacturing company in South Korea, KCC Corporation, and Berger Paints are the company of choice for major corporate and government supply and application projects.

Challenge Background

There is a global challenge with paints ageing and becoming unusable. This may be at the manufacturing stage, relating to inputs, or at the wholesaler stage where unsold products expire. Also, consumers may have used or unused paints that are no longer usable. 

Berger Paints Nigeria is seeking innovative methods of valorising aged paints, and paint fractions and components, into new products, including usable paints with a shelf life of more than 2 Years. The solution   should have wide applicability and scalability to help transform this worldwide waste stream into commercially valuable outputs. 

There are no current technological processes in-country available to convert these aged paints for alternative uses thus an innovative solution is required. 

Berger Paints Nigeria’s range of water-based paints includes standard and premium: matt and satin finishes, withs typical shelf lives of 2-3 yrs. Their solvent-based paints include epoxy coatings, acrylic polyurethane, silicone heat resisting, chlorubber paint, marine/alkyd gloss, antifouling paint, etch wash primer, road marking paint and bright aluminum, with typical shelf lives of 3-5 yrs. 

Berger Paints Nigeria is working with waste management agencies to legally dispose of unusable paints. However, they are looking for innovations which feed into the circular economy process relating to paints. Berger Paints would like to save energy, optimize resource efficiency and minimize waste, also generating cost savings to the company and its consumers. 

Currently: ‘officially’ expired paints (via date of manufacture) can be revalidated (by technical shelf life) for additional retail shelf life of 6-12 months. However, continual revalidation is time-consuming and impacts product quality perceptions. 

The ideal solution would consider ways of collecting and sorting leftover paints to identify expired paints. The manufacturer would then process remnants and treat to remove impurities and to separate removable materials. Berger Paints Nigeria would like to lead the industry in developing such a (re)supply chain. Such findings would be shared with government waste collection agencies and these innovative services could also serve other paint manufacturers. 

Berger Paints Nigeria envisages valorised products to re-enter the paint supply chain (with a longer shelf life compared to the above-mentioned 6-12 months), but they are also open to solutions resulting in new and different products entirely. Innovative thinking is welcome for this challenge.

Early-stage solutions are welcome, but TRL must be aligned with project objectives (ie: capable of running a valid pilot). 

Berger Paints Nigeria is open to discuss IP arrangements with challenge winners. They would seek to find a mutually beneficial commercialization route. 

Applicants should include relevant details as attachments, such as:

  • Process diagram
  • Technical data
  • Business model
  • Lab images

Additional Info

Approximate value of expiration losses in 2022 was 94M Naira.

If you would like additional information or clarification of any issues, please contact the Global Alliance Africa, Open Innovation Lead:

Future plans for integrating innovative processes/products into Berger’s supply chain will be through the Paint Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMAN) in-country, and through Paint Manufacturers Associations in West African countries.


Rewards & Benefits

  • Up to GBP 25,000 seed funding (Subject to T&C)
  • Opportunity to pitch your solution to Berger Paints Nigeria
  • Collaboration/partnership with Berger Paints Nigeria
  • Technical support from Berger Paints Nigeria team
  • Sector expertise from Innovate UK
  • Support in the development of a prototype or pilot
  • Invitation to attend or present at Innovate UK events
  • Investor introductions (if investment is required)
  • Application support for any Innovate UK or similar competitions that are relevant.

Functional Requirements

The identified solution must/should address the following:

  • Solution must apply to packaged paints
  • Solution must support water and solvent based paints
  • Solution must identify valuable, reusable components
  • Versatility and capacity to scale are desirable
  • Solution must be integrated at a suitable point in supply chain
  • Solution must be sustainable

Technical Requirements

  • Solution must involve recycling and follow circular economy principles
  • Solution may be delivered by external contractor or via in-house team
  • Solution must produce consistent product quality
  • Solution must operate with high accuracy thresholds
  • Solution/process must comply with health and safety standards

Operating Conditions

  • Solution should operate in context of normal temperatures and humidity
  • Solution should be applicable during normal working hours
  • Solution must be viable for paint manufacturing/processing plants
  • Solution should minimise carbon emissions and contribute to waste reduction


Deployment Timescale

29 Nov 2023 – Competition launch 
14 Dec 2023 – Information session/Q&A
16 Feb 2024 – Deadline for applications (extended)
Feb 2024 – Selection and notification of finalists
Mar 2024 – Pitch day & selection of winner
Apr 2024 – Collaboration discussions
May 2024 – Pilot programme activated

Cost Requirement & Market Opportunity

  • The solution’s operation should aim to be cost-effective and/or profitable in terms of ROI
  • Winning solution providers may become long-term partners, gaining access to Berger Paints Nigeria’s supply chains
  • External contractors and in-house technical arrangements will be considered
  • The opportunity may later extend beyond expired paint to other waste streams also
  • There may be opportunities to collaborate with government waste agencies and/or other paint manufacturers

Out of Scope

  • Proposed solutions may not be viable if they are:
  • Not compliant with health and safety
  • Unsuitable for valorising expired paints
  • Unable to produce reliable quality outputs
  • Unable to use Circular Economy thinking
  • Unsuitable for Nigerian market conditions

Eligibility & Assessment Criteria

Entrants to this competition must be:

  • Established businesses, start-ups, SMEs, academics or individual entrepreneurs
  • Africa-based entrants, UK-based entrants and those from RoW are invited to apply

Due Diligence requirements for seed funding:

  • UK applicants must ensure that receiving the £25k seed funding will not exceed the £315,000* state aid threshold under UK Minimal Financial Assistance regulations over the current and last 2 fiscal years [or *200,000 euros for applicants affected by EC de minimis regulations]
  • Further information will be required later relating to company policies, financial history and recent grant funding received.

Applications will be assessed on:

  • Relevance to the topic
  • Innovative nature of the subject
  • Coherence of the proposed business model
  • Feasibility/ economic viability
  • Development potential
  • Maturity of project/solution
  • Ability to launch project quickly/Ease of implementation
  • Price/quality ratio
  • Suitability for the Nigerian Market

IP & Potential Commercial Route

  • Existing background IP associated with a potential solution will remain with Solution Provider(s). Where any new IP generation is envisaged, it will be subject to the mutual IP agreement of the Solution Provider(s) and Innovation Challenger.
  • Any commercial deployment of a transferred solution or newly developed solution, through licensing, joint venture, partnership or direct investment, will be subject to the commercial agreement between the Solution Provider(s) and Innovation Challenger.
  • Where necessary, a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) may be signed to uphold confidentiality in the engagement between the Solution Provider(s) and Innovation Challenger. (This would be expected to be after company selection. It is suggested that details of IP not be disclosed initially. Focus on the outcomes of the technology proposed).
  • KTN does not take any share of IP ownership or enter into commercial ventures through the iX programme.

Terms & Conditions

A selected panel of assessors will review and score your application. The panel of assessors will meet and agree a consensus score. Selected applicants will be invited to pitch to the Challenge Holder. Success will be based upon total consensus scores, a portfolio approach and capacity within the challenge holders to carry out the projects.  

Application & Technical Guidance

  • The application form for this challenge will require applicants to provide company information and answer 3 questions - Idea Summary, Technology Readiness and Intellectual Property – each with a limit of 300 words.
  • Optionally, supporting documents can be attached to the application. We recommend that supporting documents are limited to those which are directly relevant to the application. Please note that applications with no supporting document will not receive any penalty in assessment. Supporting documents which the Assessment Panel deems to be superfluous may be disregarded. Examples of useful additional documents include product images or short specification sheets, slide decks detailing the solution and/or company background, or solution case studies.
  • We recommend that you complete the application form in Google Chrome as other browsers may have compatibility issues. The application form does not need to be completed in one session and can be saved for future edits. Please ensure that you toggle “Stage Complete” for each section before submission. Note that you will no longer be able to edit your application once you have clicked “Submit Idea” at the bottom of the Summary page.