Construction and Demolition Recycling
Recycled Latex Paint
- Learn about the Paint Stewardship Program
- Why Use Recycled Paint?
- Recycled Paint Study
- State Purchasing
- Sources of Recycled Paint
- Sources of Consolidated Paint
As with any painting project, latex paint is often purchased in greater quantities than needed. Rather than dispose of the leftover paint, it can be reused or reprocessed to make a high-quality, economical, recycled paint for use in place of standard latex paint.
Why Use Recycled Paint?
Lower Cost. Recycled paint is often sold at lower prices than virgin paint of comparable quality.
Product Choices. What was once a one-color, limited-use product is now available in numerous grades, colors, and percentages of postconsumer content. Recycled latex paint can now meet a wide variety of specifications and can contain additives such as anti-mildew fungicides and color pigments that can be matched between batches. It is also available for metal surfaces and as primer. It can be sprayed, rolled, or brushed on, just as any other paint.
Disposal Problem. The average household stockpiles 1 to 3 gallons of waste paint per year, according to several studies. In California, unless latex paint is reused or recycled, it is considered a hazardous waste and must be disposed of in a Class I hazardous waste landfill.
Management of leftover paint, such as disposal and household hazardous waste (HHW) collection, is discussed in another fact sheet, Latex Paint: Hazards and Solution for Disposal.
Save on Disposal. Landfilling is an unnecessary expense because leftover paint, in most cases, is still a usable product. Purchasing recycled paint creates a market demand that helps build a convenient collection infrastructure.
Recyclable. “Recyclable paint” is leftover usable latex paint that a customer delivers to a HHW or paint collection event, or directly to a paint manufacturer.
Consolidated or Reusable. “Consolidated” or “reusable paint” is paint collected and made available to consumers without modification of paint properties by a paint manufacturer.
Recycled. “Recycled paint” is recyclable paint that has been reprocessed by a paint manufacturer to meet specific performance specifications, as described below.
“Recycled paint” is reprocessed or “remanufactured” by steps that usually include the following:
Filtering. Most paint as collected contains a small amount of filterable solids, so the paint must be filtered if it is to be applied by spraying.
Mixing with standard paint. Though some recycled paint is 100 percent recycled, most recycled paint is mixed with standard paint. The added new paint is usually white, which adds coloring flexibility. Most recycled latex paint is at least 50 percent recycled content; however, it is available in a wide range of other percentages as well.
Adding pigments. Pigments are added as needed to achieve particular shades.
Adjusting pH. New latex paint has a pH between 7.5 and 9.5. Paint tends to lower in pH during storage. Adding amines or ammonia can restore the pH.
A three-year study was conducted by California Polytechnic State University to evaluate recyclable and recycled latex paint. The study was done in conjunction with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle).
The study found that "a high quality recycled paint may be obtained by blending with virgin materials and by making adjustments in some of the paint properties-principally the viscosity and pH."
The study can be downloaded from the CalRecycle's online publications catalog. See Publications at the bottom of this page.
The Public Contract Code (PCC) section 12203 et seq. requires State agencies to purchase recycled paint containing at least 50 percent post-consumer paint. The Department of General Services (DGS) previously awarded a statewide contract for purchasing of recycled latex paint by any local government body or corporation empowered to expend public funds and State agencies. This contract has now expired, and DGS plans to begin work on a new contract.
The following companies manufacture recycled latex paint in California. Call for distributor locations.Dunn-Edwards Corporation
Cal Western Paints
Contract Coatings Corp.
Pacific Resource Recovery
San Luis Paints
Stiles Paint Manufacturing
For the latest information on recycled-content products (RCP), please visit the RCP database. For your nearest latex paint recycling centers, search CalRecycle's recycled-content building products database.
The following vendors sell consolidated latex paint.Early American Paint & Varnish Co.
South San Francisco, CA (415) 583-9055
Habitat for Humanity: Tijuana-San Diego
Lemon Grove, CA (619) 465-7576
Project: Team Work
Walnut Creek, CA (510) 935-0829
See CalRecycle's online Publications Catalog (Household Hazardous Waste section) for information on ordering or downloading the following CalRecycle publications about recycled paint.
- Sampling, Testing, and Evaluation of Recyclable and Recycled Latex Paint: Final Report. 125 pp., December 1995, Pub #331-95-011.
- Latex Paint: Hazards and Solutions to Disposal. Two-page overview of reduction, reuse, recycling, and disposal of leftover latex paint. (pub. #331-97-016) and en Espanol: Pintura de Latex: Peligros y Soluciones para su Desecho (pub. #331-97-023)