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Maine Becomes Seventh State to Create Industry Run Paint Recycling Program

paintcareMaine has become the seventh state to pass a law creating an industry run collection and recycling program for leftover oil and latex paint.

The law creates a product stewardship program that would provide convenient used paint collection sites at participating paint retail stores and transfer stations across Maine. The program could result in the collection, reuse and recycling of more than 300,000 gallons of paint each year, according to Waste & Recycling News.

The program will be run by PaintCare, a non-profit organization created by the American Coatings Association (ACA), who, working with state and local government stakeholders, passed the first ever paint product stewardship law in the United States in  Oregon in 2009. This legislation piloted an industry-led end-of-life management program for post-consumer paint which PaintCare was established to operate. California, Connecticut, Rhode Island and now Maine have passed similar legislation.

Until recently, the only option for consumers was costly government-run household hazardous waste collection programs, according to the ACA. Post-consumer paint can be collected for reuse, recycling, energy recovery, or safe disposal, but doing so requires public awareness and a convenient and effective infrastructure that exceeds local government budgets and capacity. The system must also be cost effective. The financing system is termed a paint stewardship assessment, and is paid to PaintCare by producers of architectural paint sold in participating states. The assessment must then be added to the wholesale price of paint to all distributors and retailers, and included in the final purchase price of paint to consumers.

This financing system apportions funding fairly amongst the manufacturers and retailers and is based on sales of new paint. In addition, it provides for a transparent system, where the consumer shares the responsibility for the end-of-life paint management. Financing from the system is used to set-up and run statewide systems for the collection of post-consumer paint. The collected paint is managed according to the waste management hierarchy emphasizing reuse, recycling, energy recovery and proper disposal.

According to the Maine law, once the stewardship plan is implemented, a producer may not sell or offer for sale architectural paint in the state unless the producer or a representative organization of which the producer is a member participates in a paint stewardship program.

The law will 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.

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