Paint Recycler Establishes Operations in NY

FRIDAY, APRIL 29, 2022

A latex paint recycling company based out of Colorado recently started setting up operations in Rotterdam, New York, to reprocess old architectural coatings under the state’s new paint stewardship rules.

GreenSheen has leased 40,000 square feet in the Rotterdam Corporate Park for the recycling facility, with plans to hire 25 people. By August, the paint recycler plans to be operating at 60-70% capacity.

NY PaintCare Program

In July 2019, the New York State Assembly approved legislation establishing a PaintCare program—a paint stewardship program involving paint manufacturers and producers in conjunction with the American Coatings Association.

The non-profit 501(c)(3) organization was established in 2009 and works through a Paint Producer Stewardship Initiative, which is facilitated by the Product Stewardship Institute. In August 2021, the program was reported to have collected over 50 million gallons of paint.

New York Assembly Bill A6373 established the PaintCare program within the state, and requires that producers of architectural coatings sold in retail or through a representative organization within the state submit a plan to the commissioner of environmental conservation for the establishment of the program, and forbids a producer or retailer to sell architectural paint unless it has already implemented an approved program plan.

Senate Bill S4351 serves as a companion bill to the assembly program, and was sponsored by Sen. Tom O’Mara (R, C, I-Big Flats). Both bills were approved unanimously on June 5, 2019.

In addition to creating local jobs and encouraging the recycle and proper disposal of unused paint, the legislation also relieves local property taxpayers, as well as mandates the industry-sponsored paint stewardship program and reduces costly responsibilities from local governments accountable for paint collection and disposal services.

To promote fairness and consumer protection, New York’s legislation specifies that all assessment funding must first be approved by an independent audit with rates to cover only the management cost and sustain the program, followed by a submission to the state’s Department of Environment.

What Now

In promoting the state for the new program, New York officials awarded a contract to GreenSheen, where it was decided that the company would operate in Rotterdam.

Schenectady County Legislature Chairman Anthony Jasenski reported in a press release that the county was excited to have the new green manufacturing company and last week, the Schenectady County Metroplex board of directors was scheduled to vote on a $75,000 grant to assist GreenSheen in setting up the first latex paint recycling operation in the state.

According to The Daily Gazette, the facility operations will be supported by a fee for consumers on paint and certain paint-related products: 45 cents for containers holding 17-127 ounces of paint; 95 cents for 1–2-gallon containers; and $1.95 for larger containers up to five gallons. There is no fee for containers holding less than one pint of paint.

It is reported that GreenSheen established these fees for the cost of running the operation and that they are not fees established by the state for the program.

According to GreenSheen Founder and CEO, Kevin Callahan, the new facility should be at full capacity within one year.

“We expect New York to be the largest state we’ve ever operated in,” he added. The company also collects and processes leftover paint in Denver, Phoenix, and Kent, Washington. Collectively, the facilities process about 16 million pounds of paint per year.

During the recycling process, GreenSheen filters and purifies waste paint into 18 basic colors and sells the recycled product in 1- to 275-gallon containers. Noted to have an eggshell finish, the acrylic can be used for interior or exterior applications and has a five-year warranty.

While old paint can conjure a negative image in consumers’ minds, Callahan explained that 92% of paint received for recycling is typically is very good condition. Through third-party testing, the company has found that recycled coatings are as good as paint from major manufacturers.

Callahan further explained that this is because much of the paint is from major manufacturers.

As for the steel paint cans, the company also recycles those through a crushing process which is then sold for scrap. Plastic paint buckets are shredded and sold to a paint bucket manufacturer. As part of the stewardship program, GreenSheen accounts for every pound of waste.

Products accepted for recycling at drop-off sites operating through the PaintCare program are noted to be the same products that are subject to the new fee at the time of sale. Specified, acceptable products include:

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

Callahan predicts that once the facility is operating at full capacity, the New York recycling plant will be larger than all of its other operations combined.

PaintCare Elsewhere

Oregon was the first to pass such a law in 2009, and over the past decade was followed by similar laws in California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and, most recently, New York, where a new program is expected to begin operation in 2022.

According to the organization, there are more than 2,000 drop-off sites across all of PaintCare’s programs, most at paint and hardware retail stores. In addition, PaintCare has managed paint from more than 5,840 collection events.

In March 2021, New Jersey’s state Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee unanimously passed legislation for a PaintCare program—a paint stewardship program involving paint manufacturers and producers in conjunction with the American Coatings Association. The measure is expected to go to the state house.

The legislation would specifically require PaintCare to establish a paint collection site within 15 miles of 90% of the state’s residents. Permanent collection sites must set up for every 30,000 residents of a population center.

The program could end up diverting 85–90% of paints and other products from landfills. It’ll be financed by a fee on new sales (not through the state). However, when consumers bring in leftover paint there is zero cost to consumers to have it collected.

ACA said that that this could be critical in New Jersey, where only five of the 21 counties even accept latex paint for recycling and proper disposal—latex paint being 80% of the paint sold today. Those few counties that do accept latex paint do so at a great cost. For example, Ocean County reported spending over $200,000 on its paint management program in 2013 alone.

For municipalities that participate in collection, the program would pay them to transport and manage the product, meaning that the bill could help save money at the county level.

ACA worked with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, as well as the state’s local waste authorities, HHW program managers and Product Stewardship Councils.

More Recently, in November, the British Coatings Federation (BCF) announced that it would be committing to new targets for its paint recycling scheme, PaintCare. The ambitious new target calls for increasing the percentage leftover paint reused, recycled or remanufactured from the current 2% to 75% by 2030.

According to BCF, sustainable production and recycling of paint have been a key focus in the United Kingdom’s coating industry since 1996 and are the basis for nearly 50 health, safety and environment key performance indicators monitored through the BCF’s Coatings Care program.

Latest Coatings Care figures showed record low levels of energy used in production as well as a significant decrease in production waste. Additional figures revealed that 71% of production waste is now recycled, compared to 17% in 1996.


Tagged categories: Acrylic; Architectural coatings; Business operations; Coatings; Environmental Controls; Environmentally friendly; Good Technical Practice; Government; Latex; Laws and litigation; Manufacturing Plant; NA; North America; Paint recycling; Paint recycling; PaintCare program; Program/Project Management; Projects - Commercial

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