Paint, Stain, Varnish
Photo courtesy of PaintCare

PaintCare releases report for paint recovery program in Washington, D.C.

The organization says Washingtonians dropped off 580,000 gallons of paint in the first nine months of the program.

May 11, 2022

PaintCare, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit tasked with managing leftover paint in states that have enacted paint stewardship laws, recently released its inaugural report for its paint recycling program in Washington state, which launched last year.  

According to the report, in its first nine months of operation in Washington, PaintCare collected more than 580,000 gallons of paint, diverting most of it out of landfills and putting it to beneficial use. A year into collection PaintCare estimates that Washingtonians have dropped off about 842,000 gallons of unwanted paint.   

The organization says the paint recycling program allows people to recycle unwanted paint at 210 drop-off sites statewide. Of the 210 year-round sites, 162 were paint retailers, representing 28 percent of likely paint retail participants. The remaining sites included 16 reuse stores, one paint recycler and 31 household hazardous waste facilities.  

Of the paint collected, latex paint was 89 percent of the paint processed and was reused or made into recycled-content paint, with about 10 percent of it being landfilled because it was dried. Oil-based paint was 11 percent of the paint processed, which was reused, processed for energy recovery or incinerated.  

According to PaintCare’s 2021 Washington Annual Report, the recovery rate of postconsumer paint collected was 5 percent.  

The service is made possible by a collaboration between local and statewide governments and private sector businesses. By recycling this paint, PaintCare says it benefits consumers and the environment by diverting paint from Washington’s waste stream and reusing and recycling it in communities across the state.   

“It is estimated that about 10 percent of all household paint gets thrown away and can end up in landfills,” says Brett Rodgers, director of communications for PaintCare. “Washingtonians chose to convert this waste product into a beneficial resource. From day one, households and businesses across the state were engaged in recycling efforts. We owe a tremendous thank you to all our partners that helped get this program off the ground. The outpouring of community support has been immense.”   

PaintCare is a nonprofit organization created by the paint industry through the American Coatings Association (ACA), Washington D.C. By working with centrally located paint retail stores and locally managed government facilities, the program recycles leftover paint, stain and varnish. PaintCare also offers free on-location pickup to businesses, organizations and households with 100 gallons of paint or more to recycle.   

“These programs allow us to put paint back on the shelf, protect the environment and save local governments millions of dollars each year,” Rodgers says. “We’re proud of the progress we’ve made so far and look forward to continue working with our partners to safely and responsibly recycle even more paint in Washington state.”  

PaintCare’s Washington program is made possible by the state’s paint stewardship law (SHB 1652), passed in 2019. The law ensures that everyone who produces, sells and uses paint works together to manage its entire life cycle. Passage of the Washington paint stewardship law was made possible by support from multiple stakeholders, including Washington’s Department of Ecology, the ACA, the Product Stewardship Institute, the Northwest Product Stewardship Council and Zero Waste Washington.   

The paint stewardship law includes a small fee on the sale of any new paint in the state, which funds all aspects of the program, including paint collection, transportation, processing and public education. Most PaintCare sites accept latex and oil-based architectural paint products, including paints, stains and varnishes. Paint must be dropped off in its original container with its original manufacturer’s label.   

For more information on PaintCare, click here. To read PaintCare's sustainability report, click here.