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Paint Recycling Hits, Clears Hurdles

Friday, May 9, 2014

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Paint-recycling legislation continues to spread across the United States, despite a few recent bumps along the way.

Most recently, PaintCare enabling legislation has hit a snag in New Hampshire, been put on hold in Illinois, and is likely to pass in Colorado.

The New Hampshire Senate voted Thursday (May 1) to kill H.B. 1570—legislation that was needed to bring the American Coatings Association’s PaintCare program to the state.

PaintCare Inc.

The PaintCare program "will result in the proper management of millions of gallons of leftover paint each year," according to the American Coatings Association.

Efforts to pass similar legislation in Illinois have been put on hold in the wake of opposition from retailers.

On the other hand, Colorado could become the eighth state to implement the paint recycling program. There, the measure has cleared both the House and Senate and is awaiting the governor’s signature.

PaintCare has already been established by legislation in Oregon, California, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont and Connecticut.  

NH ‘Paint Tax’ Issue

Lawmakers in New Hampshire were reportedly reluctant to support the PaintCare bill, labeling the assessment passed on to paint consumers as a “paint tax.”

The bill was also contentious in the state due to upcoming elections.

“[I]t is unfortunate that some legislators choose only to look at the nominal fee paid by the manufacturers and consumers of paint products, instead of the significant cost savings to the taxpayers,” Alison Keane, the vice president of the ACA, said in an e-mailed statement.

“It is the municipal governments and taxpayers who have lost in the state, as they will continue to have to fund waste management programs for paint instead of utilizing the PaintCare program.”

paint cans
© iStock / ozgurdonmaz

The legislation failed in New Hampshire because some lawmakers viewed the assessment fee charged to consumers to fund the program as a "paint tax."

ACA’s paint recycling program is funded through fees on each container of architectural paint in states that have  programs. Budgets and fees are set on a state-by-state basis. So far, these fees have been the same in each of the seven states with a program:  35 cents, 75 cents or $1.60 per container, depending on the container size.

PaintCare officials believe they will have much better luck with the measure in New Hampshire after the elections.

NH Groups Support

Moreover, many groups in New Hampshire support the PaintCare program, including the Northeast Resource Recovery Association; NH Department of Environmental Services; and the NH Management Council.

Members of the NRRA were “deeply disappointed” in the Senate vote, according to the group’s executive director.

However, “our members expressed appreciation for the efforts made this year and look to a speedy passage in the next session after any lingering misconceptions are clarified,” said Michael Durfor.

Paint is often the number-one product—by volume and cost—coming into Hazardous Household Waste (HHW) programs nationwide.

IL Bill ‘On Hold’

Concerns from retailers in Illinois have put the brakes on program adoption there.

Some retailers currently charge consumers to bring back paint to their stores and do not want to lose the “revenue,” according to Keane.

Under the PaintCare program, there is no charge at the time of collection, only at the time of purchase.

Moreover, the PaintCare assessment is “significantly lower” than the fee currently being charged by Illinois retailers.

The ACA said it would work to address the concerns before pushing the bill forward there.

Efforts in the West

Meanwhile, in the west, Colorado legislators have passed S.B. 14-029. Should Gov. John W. Hickenlooper sign the bill into law, Colorado would become the eighth U.S. state to adopt the program.

The paint and coating manufacturers' group calls PaintCare a model for “proper and effective management of post-consumer paint.”

Efforts to bring the program to Washington State are ongoing, according to ACA.

PaintCare poster
PaintCare Inc.

The first industry-supported post-consumer architectural paint recycling program began in Oregon in 2010. PaintCare posters appear at collection sites.

The state failed to pass legislation last year despite significant support. The primary opposition faced in the state comes from local waste haulers, Keane noted.

A meeting to discuss the measure with key stakeholders is scheduled for the end of May.

Action in the East

PaintCare legislation was also introduced this year in New York and New Jersey.

In New York, the elections will “most likely hamper efforts to get the bill passed” in the current session, according to Keane.

However, she added that there isn’t any opposition in the state and the legislation has a growing number of supporters. The group plans to push the measure as a priority in the next legislative session.

PaintCare will have more success in New Jersey, where there is a full-time legislature, Keane said.

There, the model PaintCare bill has been introduced in both the House and Senate. The first hearing on the measure is expected in the Senate before summer recess, with a House hearing in the fall, Keane noted.

She expects the bill to pass in New Jersey by the end of the year.

PaintCare Inc. / YouTube

PaintCare drop-off sites are often located in retail stores, to simplify collection efforts.

In Massachusetts, ACA plans to push for bill introduction in the next legislative session, Keane added.

The group is also in the “preliminary stages” of bringing the program to the District of Columbia.

About PaintCare

PaintCare began in Oregon in 2010. In the first two years, that program recycled more than one million gallons of paint.

California launched its program in 2012. Connecticut rolled out its program in 2013; Vermont launched in May 2014; Rhode Island is set to launch in June 2014, followed by Minnesota (Fall 2014) and Maine (Spring 2015).

ACA views the legislation as critical to the program because it provides two elements essential to the paint industry:

  • A level playing field among all producers and retailers;
  • A sustainable financing system for the program, through an assessment by all architectural paint makers on their current price of paint.

One of ACA’s goals is to make regulation consistent across all states, so that program implementation can be nationally coordinated and manufacturers and consumers of paint do not have differing programs across state lines, ACA said.


Tagged categories: American Coatings Association; Coatings manufacturers; Environmental Protection; Good Technical Practice; Paint disposal; Paint recycling; PaintCare program

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