PaintCare Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization established to represent paint manufacturers (paint producers) to plan and operate paint stewardship programs in the United States in those states that pass paint stewardship laws.
PaintCare was created by the American Coatings Association, a membership-based trade association of the paint manufacturing industry. Working with state and local government stakeholders, ACA passed the first paint stewardship law in the United States in Oregon in 2009. This legislation resulted in a pilot program for an industry-led program to manage postconsumer (leftover) paint.
Since then, seven more states and the District of Columbia have passed paint stewardship laws similar to the one in Oregon, and the program in Oregon is no longer a pilot program; legislation passed in 2013 made the Oregon pilot program into a permanent one.
PaintCare has programs in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont and is planning programs for Maine and the District of Columbia. We expect similar legislation to be introduced in several other states in the next few years.
Prior to PaintCare, the best options for households to recycle or dispose of unwanted paint were government-run household hazardous waste (HHW) facilities and special one-day “round-up” events with limited days, hours and locations. In states with PaintCare, many new paint drop-off locations are established. Most PaintCare locations are at paint retailers who volunteer to take back paint. These retailers take back paint during regular business hours making paint recycling and disposal much more convenient for the public.
In parts of the United States where PaintCare has programs and where people were previously instructed to dry out old latex paint and put it in the trash, we now encourage people to take it to a PaintCare drop-off site so we can sort it and recycle it. Postconsumer paint can be collected for reuse, recycling, energy recovery, or safe disposal, but doing so requires public awareness and a convenient and effective infrastructure that exceeds local government budgets and capacity in many parts of the country.
The paint manufacturing industry supported the laws passed in these eight states and will support additional legislation because these laws enable the paint industry to implement a collection program by providing a level playing field among manufacturers and retailers. These laws also provide a sustainable financing system and an anti-trust exemption for activities required to run a successful program.
The program is funded through fees on each container of architectural paint sold in states with paint stewardship programs. Budgets and fees are set on a state-by-state basis. So far these fees have been the same in each state with a program: 35 cents, 75 cents or $1.60 per container, depending on the container size.