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Paint Recycling’s Next Stop: WA

Monday, February 25, 2013

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U.S. coating makers are poised to pop the lid on their model recycling program, PaintCare, in a fifth state.

Four months after California rolled out its program, the American Coatings Association is working to bring the architectural paint recycling initiative to Washington State.

S.B. 5424, “An Act Relating to Paint Stewardship" has nine sponsors and is moving quickly through that state's legislature. After public hearings on the measure Feb. 13 and Feb. 14, the state's Senate Committee on Energy and Environment & Telecommunications approved the bill Thursday (Feb. 21) and sent it to the Ways and Means Committee.

A companion bill, H.B. 1579, is pending in the state House.

ACA Testimony

The bill would bring the industry-crafted PaintCare program to Washington, following successful similar efforts in Oregon, California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

Images: PaintCare

Oregonians recycled more than one million gallons of architectural paint in the first two years of the PaintCare program, officials said.

The program is the coating industry's model to manage post-consumer paint, which is often the top product (by volume and cost) coming into Hazardous Household Waste programs.

In its testimony this month, ACA said it was committed to finding a "viable solution to the issue of post-consumer paint." The association "pointed to the resounding success of its PaintCare pilot program in Oregon, as well as the more than decade of success of similar programming in Canada," the association said.

Keeping it Fair

The legislation offers both sustainable financing and a level playing field for producers and retailers—two critical elements of product stewardship, testified Alison Keane, ACA’s vice president of Government Affairs.

“Unless all manufacturers and retailers participate in the program, and participate in a uniform manner, this type of program could lead to competitive advantages and disadvantages within the industry and among producers and retailers," said Keane.

"In addition, when it comes to financing a system such as this, competitors cannot agree on the ‘price of products or services’ even for a good cause, without running afoul of anti-trust regulations. This bill ensures a sustainable financing system for the program, where all architectural paint manufacturers selling in Washington will fund the program through an assessment added to their current price of paint.”

Who Pays

The program is funded through an assessment on wholesale and retail paint sales. The assessment will fund paint collection, reuse, recycling, and disposal activities statewide, including areas that are underserved now, Keane said.

That allows consumers in underserved areas to participate in the program without paying more than others. The funds would cover not just new paint sold, but all of the paint now sitting in home basements and garages, officials said.

Paint Calculator

One of the program's goals is to teach consumers how to buy the appropriate amount of paint for a project, to minimize leftovers and waste.

The program also includes consumer education and outreach. Paint makers say they want to help consumers learn to buy appropriate amounts of paint in order to use it up, rather than throw it away.

The bill requires that the assessment funding be approved by an independent audit submitted to the Washington Department of Environment (DOE) and that the assessment be set at a rate to cover only the cost to manage and sustain the program.

ACA says it has worked to refine the program over the last year with the Washington DOE, local waste authorities, HHW program managers, the Pacific Northwest Product Stewardship Council, Zero Waste and others.

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 Oct. 19, 2012. Connecticut is set to roll out its program in July 2013; Rhode Island, in the summer of 2014.

PaintCare allows consumers to recycle:

  • Interior and exterior architectural paints: latex, acrylic, water-based, alkyd, oil-based, enamel (including textured coatings);
  • Deck coatings, floor paints (including elastomeric);
  • Primers, sealers, undercoaters;
  • Stains;
  • Shellacs, lacquers, varnishes, urethanes (single component);
  • Waterproofing concrete/masonry/wood sealers and repellents (not tar or bitumen-based);
  • Metal coatings, rust preventatives; and
  • Field and lawn paints.

It does not accept:

  • Paint thinners, mineral spirits, solvents;
  • Aerosol paints (spray cans);
  • Auto and marine paints;
  • Art and craft paints;
  • Caulking compounds, epoxies, glues, adhesives;
  • Paint additives, colorants, tints, resins;
  • Wood preservatives (containing pesticides);
  • Roof patch and repair;
  • Tar and bitumen-based products;
  • Two-component coatings;
  • Deck cleaners;
  • Traffic and road marking paints;
  • Industrial Maintenance (IM) coatings; and
  • Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM, or shop application) paints and finishes.


Tagged categories: American Coatings Association (ACA); Good Technical Practice; Government; Laws and litigation; Paint disposal; Paint recycling; PaintCare program

Comment from Linda Chipperfield, (2/25/2013, 5:17 PM)

Consumer concern over paint performance is one of the greatest impediments to increasing the use of recycled paint. Green Seal, MPI and the Product Stewardship Council worked together to create GS-43, a standard for recycled paint that includes performance requirements in addition to other sustainability measures. The standard can be downloaded at

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