The days of mixing kitty litter into leftover cans of paint in preparation for the trash can are over.
This spring, Skagit households and businesses celebrate a new place to put old paint with the debut of the PaintCare program.
This recycling program makes it safe and easy to recycle leftover paint stain and varnish for free at 149 locations across Washington.
PaintCare is a not-for-profit organization created by paint manufacturers to manage waste paint in states that have enacted stewardship laws. A decade in the making, Washington passed a paint stewardship law in 2019 to enact the PaintCare program.
PaintCare is now ready to help people put unused paint to the “highest, best uses” including giving away good quality paint as-is, recycling it, or putting it to other beneficial use.
Product stewardship laws such as this can effective and efficient strategies to manage waste from start to finish.
Washington is already home to the LightRecycle Washington program and the E-Cycle Washington program, both of which are based on product stewardship laws that guide the recycling of fluorescent lighting, and electronics.
Like these, the PaintCare program ensures those who produce, sell and use a product work together to manage the materials of that product throughout its full life cycle. PaintCare is expected to manage more than 1.3 million gallons of paint in this first year.
Passage of the Washington paint stewardship law was made possible by a collaboration among multiple stakeholders, including Washington’s Department of Ecology, the Product Stewardship Council (PSI), the Northwest Product Stewardship Council and Zero Waste Washington.
Washington’s program follows similar paint stewardship laws that are in place in nine other states as well as the District of Columbia. All build on a model mediated by PSI.
The feasibility of the program is based on a small fee charged on the sale of new paint. This fee funds all aspects of the program, including paint collection, transportation, processing and public education.
The PaintCare fee in Washington is the same as in neighboring Oregon and varies by container size.
PaintCare makes paint recycling convenient by collaborating with local government facilities and paint retailers near residential neighborhoods that are open during normal business hours.
These locations make it simple for households and businesses to find their nearest dropoff site by visiting PaintCare’s online site locator.
To reinforce the program’s ease of use, businesses, organizations and households with 200 gallons of paint or more to recycle may request a free pickup at their location. Some restrictions apply. More information and a request form are found on PaintCare’s website.
Most PaintCare dropoff locations accept both latex and oil-based architectural paint products, including paints, stains and varnishes. Paint must be dropped off for recycling in original containers with its original manufacturer labels.
Non-PaintCare products (those not accepted for recycling within the program) are still acceptable to bring to the Skagit County Household Hazardous Waste Facility for disposal.
n Interior and exterior architectural paints: latex, acrylic, water based, alkyd, oil-based, enamel (including textured coatings).
n Deck coatings, floor paints (including elastomeric).
n Primers, sealer, undercoaters
n Shellacs, lacquers, varnishes, urethanes (single component).
n Waterproofing concrete/masonry/wood sealers and repellants (not tar or bitumen-based).
n Metal coatings, rust preventatives.
n Field and lawn paints.
n Paint thinners, mineral spirits and solvents.
n Aerosol paints (spray cans).
n Auto and marine paints.
n Art and craft paints.
n Caulking compounds, epoxies, glues, adhesives.
n Paint additives, colorants, tints, resins.
n Wood preservatives (containing pesticides).
n Rood patch and repair.
n Asphalt, tar and bitumen-based products.
n 2-component coatings.
n Deck cleaners.
n Traffic and road marking paints.
n Industrial Maintenance (IM) coatings.
n Original Equipment Manufacturer (EOM) (shop application) paints and finishes.
A printable version of the above (accepted and non-accepted) products is available on the PaintCare website.
An estimated 10% of all household paint goes unused. When dumped in the trash or down the drain, leftover paint contaminates the environment.
Prior to PaintCare, the main disposal option for latex paint in Skagit County included adding loose dirt, kitty litter or shredded paper to the paint can and waiting for the contents to dry before throwing the paint out. Oil-based paint disposal was limited to dropoff at the Household Hazardous Waste Facility only.
While most paint can be reused, recycled into new paint, or repurposed into other products, for many years most paint was trashed because people did not have an easy place to take it.
PaintCare changes this by bringing expanded opportunities for recycling paint to a neighborhood near you.
Built to make recycling paint easy and free, PaintCare has already proven success in reducing paint waste by collecting 47.4 million gallons of paint products in participating states.
Find out more about PaintCare, and locate dropoff locations near you by visiting paintcare.org/states/washington.