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Maine Bill Could Create Paint Product Stewardship Recycling Program

behr paintThe Maine Legislature enacted a bill to create an industry-run collection and recycling program for leftover household paint. If allowed to become law by Governor Paul LePage, the bill (LD 1308) would create a product stewardship program that would provide convenient used paint collection sites at participating paint retail stores and transfer stations across Maine. The bill received a 28-7 vote in the Senate, and a 92-44 vote in the House. Governor LePage has 10 days to sign the bill, allow the bill to become law without his signature, or veto the bill.

The bill would save money for Maine towns by avoiding the high costs of processing used paint that currently is collected sporadically across the state through household hazardous waste events, according to the Natural Resources Council of Maine. The Council has worked closely with representatives of the paint industry and a bipartisan group of lawmakers to shape the legislation. Industry data on Maine paint sales suggest the program could result in the collection and environmentally-responsible recycling and reuse of more than 300,000 gallons of paint annually in Maine.

LD 1308 uses the “product stewardship” model of assigning the responsibility of collection, recycling and disposal of used products to the manufacturers. The program adds a recycling fee to the price of the product to finance the program; ensures a level playing field among all manufacturers; and involves industry management of the program through voluntary public and private sector collection sites. This model was developed through years of collaboration among multiple stakeholders in a national effort facilitated by PSI.

Maine would be the seventh state to enact this program, following Oregon, California, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Minnesota, and Vermont. Participating retail stores would serve as the primary locations to recycle the paint.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Tom Saviello (R-Franklin), received support during public hearings from the American Coatings Association; paint companies such as Sherwin-Williams, Behr, Velspar, and Henry; the Maine Resource Recovery Association, which represents 235 towns; retail stores; and organizations that promote product stewardship programs, including the Natural Resources Council of Maine and Product Stewardship Institute (PSI).

Small local retailers, in particular, support the program because it provides increased customer traffic and allows them to provide a valuable service to their customers, who are now able to safely and responsibly remove leftover paint cans that have been piling up o

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