July marks the one-year anniversary of the nation’s first paint recycling program. PaintCare, the non-profit organization in charge of administering the state legislated paint recycling program unique to Oregon, compiled statistics to evaluate the program success.
In the first eight months of the program 284,086 gallons of paint were collected and the number continues to grow. Of the latex paint collected four percent went to reuse/exchange; 52 percent went into recycled content paint; six percent went into cement production; and 38 percent was sent for biomass or biodegradation. Of the alkyd paint, five percent went to reuse/exchange and 95 percent went for fuel blending.
In order to drive the program, PaintCare set up 90 collection sites throughout Oregon. The sites are comprised of 65 retailers, 16 local government sites and nine restoration sites such as Habitat for Humanity Stores. Most retailers reported that they are in favor of the program and see their participation as a competitive advantage. In general, consumers said they feel that they are doing the responsible thing by recycling their paint and that the program has given them convenient locations to recycle their paint.
“We want to continue to increase our recycling rate and grow the amount of collection sites available to consumers throughout the state," said Alison Keane, executive director for PaintCare. “Over 60 percent of paint is currently being recycled, but we think we can do better than that. In addition we need to continue to work with paint retailers to increase the education process at the point of purchase in order to get the message out about the program and the economic and environmental consequences of paint purchases.”
One of the next goals for the PaintCare program is to pass legislation in the state of Washington so the program can become region wide. The next state program will roll out in California on July 1, 2012 followed by Connecticut in July 2013. PaintCare will manage and oversee all the programs.
PaintCare’s annual report for Oregon will be available online this September at: www.paintcare.org.