State launches paint recycling program
SACRAMENTO — The California Paint Stewardship Program established in mid-October by a new law, AB 1343 (2010) by Assembly Member Jared Huffman, requires paint manufacturers to develop a take back system for leftover paint from household and commercial consumers.
The new program will be the second and largest of its kind in the United States. Oregon’s pilot program started two years ago. Connecticut and Rhode Island are planning similar programs.
Paint manufacturers, through the American Coatings Association, created PaintCare, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization to administer the state programs. The non-profit will arrange for recycling and proper disposal of unused paint and conduct public education about proper paint management.
More than 700 million gallons of architectural paint is sold each year in the U.S., and about 10 percent is available for recycling. Until now, leftover paint has been handled primarily by government-run household hazardous waste programs — many with strained budgets and limited days of operation.
Huffman believes that this California PaintCare program will be particularly helpful to consumers and local governments. “This is an important program that will make paint recycling more convenient for Californians, reduce the financial burden on local governments, and protect the environment. It allows industry to take the lead in developing a safe and reliable system for the recovery and proper management of leftover paint. It’s a win-win-win.”
Funding for the program will come from a Recovery Fee that will be applied to the purchase price of paint sold in California and paid to PaintCare. Fees are based on container size as follows:
No fee for pint or less; 35 cents for each pint up to a gallon; 75 cents for a gallon and $160 for 1 to 5 gallons.
PaintCare will use the fees to pay for the transportation of leftover paint from partnering drop-off sites to processors for recycling and energy recovery. These fees will also assist PaintCare in its efforts to educate consumers on the importance of buying the correct amount of paint, using up leftover paint, keeping paint out of the trash and recycling remaining unusable paint.
For more information about the program or to find out where to recycle paint, visit www.paintcare.org.