California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

News Release

Office of Public Affairs

For Immediate Release: October 19, 2012
For more information contact:
Media Contact: Heather Jones

California Paint Take-Back and Recycling Program Begins Today

SACRAMENTO--Californians now have a convenient and environmentally safe way to recycle old paint, thanks to a statewide paint stewardship program that goes into effect today.

AB 1343, enacted in 2010, requires architectural paint manufacturers to set up and administer a system to properly manage leftover paint. The Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) is responsible for program oversight and enforcement, ensuring that all architectural paint manufacturers that sell paint in California participate in a stewardship program.

“This program supports the safe disposal and recycling of one of the state’s most ubiquitous sources of household hazardous waste,” CalRecycle Director Caroll Mortensen said. “It’s also a great example of industry stepping up to ensure the safe end-of-life management of their product.”

The program is designed and managed by PaintCare Inc., a nonprofit organization created by paint manufacturers to fulfill their responsibilities under paint stewardship laws around the country. Since the passage of AB 1343, PaintCare has established hundreds of paint drop-off sites statewide. It will continue to recruit additional sites as the program rolls out. To find a nearby drop-off site, consumers and contractors can go to PaintCare’s website and enter a city or ZIP Code in the online search tool.

The take-back program will be funded through an assessment collected on the purchase of new paint sold in California. PaintCare will manage the fund. Any surplus funds must be put back into the program to reduce the costs of the program, including the assessment amount, which ranges from 35 cents to $1.60 depending on the container size.

Manufacturers are required to file annual reports with CalRecycle, and the reports will be posted on the department’s website. These reports will include, among other things, information on the amount of paint sold and postconsumer paint recovered; the methods used to collect, transport, and process postconsumer paint; the total program cost; an independent financial audit; and examples of educational materials provided to consumers to help them calculate how much paint is needed for a project and to encourage them not to buy excess paint.

Californians generate millions of gallons of leftover paint each year. Prior to adoption of AB 1343, the only way for residents to properly manage their leftover paint was through local, taxpayer or rate-payer-funded household hazardous waste programs. Due to the immense cost to manage such waste, local programs typically can afford to serve only between 5 and 10 percent of the residents in their jurisdictions. Despite these low levels of participation, paint consistently represents about one-third of the material collected through local household hazardous waste programs and costs local government millions of dollars to manage each year.

For more information and details on the paint stewardship program, see the PaintCare site and CalRecycle's Paint Stewardship Program page.

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CalRecycle provides oversight of California solid waste handling and recycling programs to protect human health, develop sustainable solutions that conserve resources, and reduce greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

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