A state program to encourage recycling of leftover household and commercial paints is replacing San Luis Obispo County’s existing program, saving the county approximately $150,000 by shifting costs to consumers.
Since 2009, San Luis Obispo County has been the only county in California to operate a paint-collection program, according to Bill Worrell, manager of the Integrated Waste Management Authority. As part of the program, local paint retailers and waste collection sites accept leftover paint, which is illegal to throw in the trash or pour down the drain.
But the new California Paint Stewardship Program, established by Assembly Bill 1343, was put into effect in late 2012.
Whereas the county would previously pay to recycle the collected paint, the new legislation shifts part of the cost to consumers. Paint retailers will collect a 75-cent fee per gallon of paint purchased, up to $1.60 for five gallons, according to a recent news release. There is no fee for dropping off old paint.
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Paint manufacturers nationwide, through the American Coatings Association, created the nonprofit organization Paint Care to administer state paint recycling programs.
The California program will be the second and largest in the United States. Oregon’s program started two years ago, and Connecticut and Rhode Island are implementing similar programs.
Paint Care will use the fees to pay for the transportation of leftover paint from partnering drop-off sites to processors for recycling and energy recovery.
Fees will also assist Paint Care in its efforts to educate consumers on the importance of buying the correct amount of paint, using up leftover paint, keeping paint out of the trash, and recycling remaining unusable paint, according to a recent news release.
For details about local paint and other hazardous waste disposal, visit www.iwma.com.
Here are the paint drop-off sites in San Luis Obispo County: