Reduce, reuse, and recycle. This mantra has been chanted for decades as society attempts to reverse the damage done to the environment. The obvious culprits--plastic bottles, paper, cardboard boxes, wood, old electronics—often come to mind. But paint is also a recyclable product. And Sarah Battaglia saw this as an opportunity.
Battaglia founded and serves as CEO of Olive Ridley Paints, the first commercially available recycled paint to be sold in New York state. The name stems from Battaglia’s desire to sound friendly, sophisticated, and gender neutral, and ties back to her mission to help create a cleaner world. A self-described “water girl,” Battaglia has visited the Great Barrier Reef on several occasions. When she noticed it was deteriorating, she began to research underwater wildlife. That’s when she learned about the Olive Ridley, a sea turtle species and now the inspiration behind her company's insignia.
Olive Ridley Paints come in 19 interior and two exterior colors, which are based on the used paint that is being recycled. The old product is sorted and blended to create new colors, which maximizes the amount that can be recycled and minimizes the cost to do so. The paint, which has a unique pleasant odor and is naturally pigment-rich, can be purchased for personal use online or at local Schuele Paint stores across Buffalo.
However, the company's customer base goes beyond the consumer market. “Our focus is B2B via green building, construction, and design industry,” Battaglia says.
To that end, Olive Ridley is working with and continuing to build relationships with companies that are committed to sustainability, with a special emphasis on painting contractors for institutions and green constructions. “We meet with architects to provide lunch ‘n’ learns and introduce the product in hopes to be specified on projects,” says Battaglia. “It's post-consumer recycled content, which contributes toward Green Building credits.”
Battaglia’s entrepreneurial spirit was inspired by her father, whom she describes as “an out-of-the-box thinker, taking things from better to best.” She, too, wants to take her company to the next level, and hopes to be the first recycled-content paint brand known across the country in the architect and design community. She believes that the brand’s authenticity, creativity, and diligence set it apart from the competition. She also hopes to expand into additional paints and/or recycled content building materials, and to become a fixture in the Buffalo/Niagara community by creating jobs and inspiring others by her success. She offers this advice to aspiring entrepreneurs: “Start by solving one problem, and you'll solve others at the same time.”