FEATURES AkzoNobel collects leftover paint during world’s largest open air cafe event Paint recycling sat squarely at the center of AkzoNobel’s involvement in this year’s global BenchesCollective event when it settled down recently in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. BenchesCollective is the world’s largest open air café Since 2014, BenchesCollective has opened more than 1,000 benches Collection of used paint collaborated with 3,000 kilos of paint recycled in 2017 "I am proud that we are able to link our paint recycling activities to this wonderful project and contribute to a more liveable Amsterdam. – Raymond de la Court, head of Decorative Paints in the Netherlands" Billed as the world’s largest open air café, the annual initiative invites people to “open” a bench outside their home and interact with neighbors in the community. Organizing activities is also encouraged as part of the event, with AkzoNobel employees taking the opportunity to ride by on bicycles and collect tins of leftover paint. “Neighbours often live disconnected from each other because it’s no longer a given that people in the same neighborhood meet”, explained Jesse Jörg, co-initiator of the BenchesCollective. “We want to turn public spaces into meeting spaces and since we started in 2014, more than 1,000 benches have been opened.” Added Raymond de la Court, who is responsible for AkzoNobel’s Decorative Paints business in the Netherlands: “This is a beautiful example of how cities can become more liveable. In the past few years, this event has continued to have a positive impact, stimulating additional neighborhood activities, such as barbecues and working together on communal outdoor spaces. I am proud that we are able to link our paint recycling activities to this wonderful project and contribute to a more liveable Amsterdam”. The collected paint will be recycled and made available via thrift stores and societal organizations, building on the Give Paint a New Life project launched by AkzoNobel and partners in March. Since then, almost 3,000 kilos of paint has been reused in Amsterdam.