New Paint Recycling Program Helps Protect Our Natural Resources

New Paint Recycling Program Helps Protect Our Natural Resources

Submitted by the Sustainability Working Group

Great news! The Washington paint stewardship program launched on April 1. Through the new program, you can take unused and unwanted paint to participating drop-off locations throughout the state at no charge. These drop-off sites are available to households, businesses, government agencies, and others with leftover paint in Washington.

The Paint Stewardship Law was an eight-year effort by Zero Waste Washington, Northwest Product Stewardship Council, Product Stewardship Institute, together with many partners and municipalities, to promote an industry-supported bill that is now in effect. Washington State Rep. Strom Peterson of Edmonds championed the bill which passed in the last few days of the 2018 legislative session, and Washington is now the 10th state to enact this law the US. Under the Paint Stewardship Law, the cost of the program will be directly passed along to consumers, and a small fee will be added to each gallon of new paint sold at retail. This fee then goes to the third-party nonprofit organization PaintCare.

PaintCare will fund all costs including recycling and disposal as well as reimbursement of the state Department of Ecology’s expenses associated with program oversight.

How it works

Participating PaintCare drop-off locations, such as paint and hardware stores and transfer stations, will accept the following:
• Household paint and primers (latex for recycling or oil-based for reuse or safe disposal as a hazardous material)
• Stains
• Deck and concrete sealers
• Clear finishes (e.g., varnishes, shellac)
• The paint products accepted must be in 5 gallon containers or less and in their original container with original manufacturer label and secure lid.

What happens to the paint?

Latex paint can easily be recycled into a suite of colors, and the recycled paint is sold at Habitat for Humanity and other stores for about half the price of new paint. Oil paint will be offered for reuse or will be disposed of as hazardous waste.

As Puyallup Tribal members, we can continue to protect natural resources even as new products and processes are developed by maintaining long held practices of stewardship and conservation. This new paint recycling program is another opportunity we can take advantage of to help protect our natural resources, shellfish, and salmon.

To find paint drop-off sites near you, check out the PaintCare website: