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From Raw Materials to End Products: Reducing Our Environmental Footprint

From Raw Materials to End Products: Reducing Our Environmental Footprint

Derivan's mission statement has been easy to understand and adhere to. We are very conscious of our environmental footprint and plan our actions around a simple but effective creed:

Mission statement extract:

"To become the leading supplier/manufacturer of artist's acrylics worldwide by providing unsurpassed quality and service ... employing environmentally sound practices both in the products and production." 

Discover Our Green Canvas

Interested in learning about our beginnings? Visit our History page to trace the vibrant timeline of our brand.
Interested in our innovative spirit? Explore our Innovation page to understand how we push the boundaries of what's possible in acrylic paints.
Curious about our ethical stance and how it ties into sustainability? Check out our Animal Welfare page 

Elevate Your Green Studio Practice with Flocculation Medium

Explore a greener way to clean up after your art sessions with our Flocculation Medium. Designed to easily tackle acrylic paint waste, this medium helps bring your paint-wash-up water to almost 100% clean, making your cleanup routine both simple and eco-friendly. Discover more about how you can make your artistic process more sustainable while keeping your workspace tidy. Your journey towards a cleaner, greener studio is just a click away!

Formulating Sustainable Paints: Balancing Quality and Environmental Impact

No Derivan paints contain lead or chromates of any kind. Any other heavy metal elements contained in the paints are fully reacted and will present no biological harm if introduced to the environment as landfill. Likewise, everyday use by artists disposing of their waste wash-up water in the garden will present no biological harm. However, we advise disposing of wastewater on non-edible plants in keeping with general best practices.

Formulating Sustainable Paints: Balancing Quality and Environmental Impact

Sustainable Packaging: Derivan's Approach To The Complete Lifecycle Of Paint Containers And Packaging

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

Reducing Waste with Smart Alternatives: Derivan's Approach to Paint Container Reuse

Reducing Waste with Smart Alternatives: Derivan's Approach to Paint Container Reuse

After research, we found that the likelihood of having paint containers returned to us for reuse was very low at best. 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 returns 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 outweigh any positive effects of reuse, especially taking into account the cleaning of residual contents.

Cardboard is a widely used packaging material that has gained popularity due to its eco-friendliness and recyclability. At Derivan, we are committed to sustainability, and we ensure that the cardboard boxes we use to package our products are sourced from a reliable and responsible supplier - Visy.

Visy is a leading packaging and recycling company that is committed to sustainable practices. They have a robust recycling program that allows them to recover and reuse materials, including paper and cardboard. By sourcing our cardboard from Visy, we are not only promoting the circular economy, but we are also reducing environmental impact.

We are proud to say that 70% of the cardboard we use is recycled, which means that we are making significant progress towards continuing to reduce our carbon footprint. By using recycled cardboard, we are conserving natural resources, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and diverting waste from landfills.

In addition to using recycled cardboard, we also make sure that our packaging is designed to be as efficient as possible. This means that we use the right size and amount of cardboard needed to protect our products during shipping, minimizing waste and maximizing the use of resources.

We believe that every little step counts when it comes to sustainability, and our use of recycled cardboard is just one of the many ways in which we are committed to reducing our environmental impact. By choosing our products, you can rest assured that you are making a sustainable choice that contributes to a better planet for all.

 VISY - FSC Cert. 




Because of these obstacles, it was decided that the first step was to make the packaging more likely to be reused by the consumers themselves: consumers may clean out and reuse the containers for other purposes after they have used the contents. As the reuse 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 locally, e.g. PET plastics) as our next objective.

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

Eco-Friendly Packaging

Driving Change through Research: How Derivan's Study Led to the Development of Eco-Friendly Packaging

In 2009, Derivan was involved in a study with the Central Queensland Local Government Association to gather information on the levels of awareness of and willingness to participate in recycling and other waste minimisation activities by residents and schools within the Rockhampton and Gladstone areas.

The findings indicated that 78% of respondents had a yellow lid recycling bin. Yellow lid bins in Queensland are suitable for collecting paper, cardboard, glass bottles, jars, aluminium and steel cans (including aerosols), juice and milk cartons, and plastic containers for recycling.

The results indicated that 59% of respondents were sure about what items could be recycled and how, although there was some confusion with items such as pizza boxes, plastic bags and drinking glasses, all of which are currently not recyclable.

The same survey revealed that only 7% of respondents had or would recycle their educational/artist paint containers. This was a real revelation to us at Derivan and led us to seek out packaging that used less plastic rather than the packaging that was just recyclable - as clearly, most of the packaging was going to landfill.

From these results, Derivan researched and introduced a new standard of packaging for our most popular children's and students' range of products after sponsoring research into recycling habits. It is equally important to encourage recycling and develop products that minimise waste. With this in mind, we have developed a new form of packaging that is both practical and reduces our overall carbon footprint. The new Eco-Pak is unlike anything we have used before. Basically, it is a soft recyclable plastic package that resembles a wine cask container. It has a flat base, and the colour of the paint that it contains is clearly visible. A squared-off edge has a screw cap and nozzle for easy pouring. Learn more about the Eco Pak

Zero Waste Packaging

Zero Waste Packaging: Derivan's Commitment to Sustainable Practices from Supplier to Customer

We recycle all packaging that makes up our raw material supply chain where possible. This is done in several ways.

Through the use of paleocons and IBCs (large raw material containers), which are returnable to the supplier

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

We have initiated the return to our suppliers of many outer cartons we receive containers in. Where this is not possible or energy efficient, they are recycled via a company that 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. 

In 2020 Derivan purchased a shredder that allows many boxes and cardboard that would otherwise go to recycling to be used for packing - eliminating the use of plastics and bubble wrap.

Those boxes, cardboard and paper that can't be reused, returned or shredded are sent for recycling by Visy.

As a last resort, a minimal amount of cardboard may make it to landfill. To reduce the amount of cardboard going to landfill, we actively avoid "contaminating," i.e. paint or pigment staining the cardboard.

Take part in our  Clam Recycling Program. 

PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) clam packs are the plastic bubble containers used to pack and transport our paint tubes. We also use cardboard boxes in this process. Locally, we have a program in place to encourage "clam" packs and cardboard boxes to be returned to us for reuse.

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. We ensure that our suppliers use the latest energy-efficient technology to produce our packaging where possible.

Box with empty packaging 




1. Stack 50 or more of the plastic tube packs in the open position on top of each other

and place them into the box they were shipped to you in, as shown in the image below. 

2. Seal the box and address it


84430 PO BOX 3695


3. Take them to the post office, and they will 

deliver it back to Derivan free of charge!

Making the Switch

Making the Switch: Derivan's Journey to a More Sustainable and Energy-Efficient Factory

Derivan moved away from using natural gas in its process line in the 1980s. Moving to cleaner energy – 

In 2014 Derivan installed 120 PV panels - these panels produce the same amount or more of electricity that is used in the day-to-day production and running of the factory at Rhodes. 

In 2022 a further 35KW of PV panels were added along with 45KW of batteries increasing the energy produced to double. This production of energy ensures Derivan is more than carbon neutral in its production facility. As energy availability varies due to geopolitical influences, Derivan has ensured the factory can continue producing even during electricity cuts and shortages.



In 2023, Derivan demonstrated its commitment to ethical practices by participating in the ethical style badge evaluation, a rigorous competition evaluated by a panel of renowned experts in six diverse areas. The competition was held at Creative World, the most significant art supplies trade show in Frankfurt, Germany. The impartial foreign board recognised Derivan's exceptional efforts, which resulted in the company being awarded the ethical style badge for its outstanding performance in the six categories evaluated. 

Eco-Friendly Material

Eco-Optimised Production

Fair & Social Production

Re-/Upcycling Design

Handmade Manufacturing

Sustainable Innovation



We have recently invested significantly in electric cars as part of our ongoing efforts to reduce our environmental footprint. We're proud to announce that with the addition of our new Tesla Model 3 to the fleet, two-thirds of our vehicles are now either fully electric or hybrid. By incorporating these sustainable vehicles into our operations, we're taking a proactive step towards reducing our carbon emissions and promoting sustainable practices. These actions are not only beneficial for the environment but also demonstrate our commitment to creating a better future for all.

Soft Plastic

We are thrilled to announce that Derivan is embarking on an exciting new initiative to collect soft plastics within our office and factory premises, so they can be recycled. By implementing this program, we are taking a significant step towards reducing our environmental impact and promoting a more sustainable future. Soft plastics have long posed a challenge in waste management due to their limited recyclability. We are eager to play our part in addressing this issue, ensuring that these plastics are diverted from landfill and given a second life through the recycling processes. Through the collective efforts of our employees and the support of our recycling partners, we are committed to making a positive difference and setting an example for others.


Compostable Packaging

We are delighted to introduce the sustainable packaging for our 'Refillables' range. Our new bags have been engineered to meet the highest environmental standards, being both landfill-biodegradable and compostable. Moreover, these bags are recyclable at the few Australian facilities that specialise in processing soft plastics.


Recognising Excellence: Derivan's Awards for Sustainable Business Practices and Employment

Derivan has been honoured to have received several awards for sustainability and employment from local, State and National governments in 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014, and 2016 

Art Supplies for the Vegan Community: How Derivan Ensures Animal-Free Products

With one exception, we do not use animal products in any of our paints (described below) - we most certainly do not believe in animal testing either and have never used this - with that said we use over 1200 different ingredients and more specifically with our face paints (which are cosmetics) no doubt some of these raw materials would have once been tested on animals by the raw material manufacturers, with many of these products we have no choice but to use them to comply with regulations.

So to reconfirm, we do not knowingly use animal products in our paints, and we most certainly do not test on animals - except.

The one exception is a colour we make called ivory black (in the Matisse range ) - obviously, it is not made from ivory, but we believe it is still made from the burnt bones which are a by-product of abattoirs - it is recycling as it were 

Also, the "carmine" colour that we have is not made on Ceramic Acid/Cochineal - as it is an animal product and it is not lightfast - it is a "synthetic" pigment developed to give a similar colour.

 23 Leeds Street Rhodes New South Wales (AU) 2138 Australia +61 2 9736 2022  [email protected]