On Earth Day, April 22, the residents of Portland, Ore., will also observe a new green-flavored event—National Paint Recycling Day.
Perhaps the idea and location shouldn’t come as a total surprise, since Oregon has built a reputation as a leader in paint-recycling and other environmentally conscious initiatives.
Portland Mayor Sam Adams declared April 22 as National Paint Recycling Day in recognition of the considerable environmental benefits of paint recycling, the mayor’s office announced.
“Paint recycling is not only the right thing to do, but it has become increasingly convenient to drop off unwanted paint with expanded paint-recycling options,” Adams said in issuing the Paint Recycling Day proclamation. “We hope Paint Recycling Day will increase the community’s awareness of these local solutions.”
Recycling Targets Waste Issue
In a 2007 report, the EPA estimated that “66 to 69 million gallons of post-consumer architectural paint is disposed or incinerated annually in the U.S.” Proper storage and disposal of paint prevents harmful chemicals from entering the environment and the release of VOC emissionis, which have been associated with adverse effects on human health and the environment.
|A paint calculator tool issued by Oregon’s PaintCare organization helps users find the proper amount of paint in two steps. 1) Measure the height and width of your space. 2) Locate the correlating values on the chart.|
An estimated 10% of the more than 750 million gallons of architectural paint sold each year in the U.S. is unused, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s website says.
Statewide PaintCare Program
In Oregon, paint manufacturers are required to safely manage leftover latex and oil-based paint from consumer and contractor painting projects, under the state’s paint-recycling legislation passed in 2009 (see Oregon Paint ‘Take-Back’ Program Begins Operation).
The American Coatings Association implemented PaintCare, a non-profit organization in charge of administrating the state-legislated recycling program, in 2010. The program is one of the only of its kind in the country thus far and is funded by paint and coatings manufacturers.
|An estimated 10% of the more than 750 million gallons of architectural paint sold each year in the U.S. is unused, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality's website says.|
Oregon’s program is estimated to properly manage 800,000 gallons of leftover paint each year. The public can bring leftover paint to a network of paint-collection sites around the state for recycling, reuse and energy recovery.
PaintCare also provides education to consumers on the importance of buying the correct amount of paint, the reuse and proper management of useable paint, and proper disposal of remaining unusable paint.
Spreading the Word
Oregon may have been the first state to enact paint-recycling legislation, but others are not far behind; California approved similar legislation in 2010 (see California Enacts Leftover Paint Management Program).
And at least one paint and coatings manufacturer has embraced the “West Coast” concept of paint stewardship with its own recycling/manufacturing program. (see Green Business Model: Mich. Paint Maker Offers New Spin on Recycling).
Oregon’s law is viewed as an outgrowth of the wider “producer responsibility” movement, of which Oregon is a national leader, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s website asserts.
“Producer responsibility means manufacturers take responsibility for reducing the life cycle impacts of a product, including internalizing the end-of-life management costs, rather than having government set up and fund collection programs for waste products,” the website says.
More information: www.paintcare.org.