PaintCare Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization established to represent paint manufacturers (paint producers) to plan and operate paint stewardship programs in the United States in those states that pass paint stewardship laws.
PaintCare was created by the American Coatings Association, a membership-based trade association of the paint manufacturing industry. Working with state and local government stakeholders, ACA passed the first paint stewardship law in the United States in Oregon in 2009. This legislation resulted in a pilot program for an industry-led program to manage postconsumer (leftover) paint. Since then, seven more states and the District of Columbia have passed paint stewardship laws similar to the one in Oregon, and the program in Oregon is no longer a pilot program; legislation passed in 2013 made the Oregon pilot program into a permanent one.
PaintCare has programs in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont and is planning a program for the District of Columbia. We expect similar legislation to be introduced in other states in the next few years. Prior to PaintCare, the best options for households to recycle or dispose of unwanted paint were government-run household hazardous waste (HHW) facilities and special one-day “round-up” events with limited days, hours and locations. In states with PaintCare, many new paint drop-off locations have been established. Most PaintCare locations are at paint retailers who volunteer to take back paint. These retailers take back paint during regular business hours making paint recycling and disposal much more convenient for the public.
In parts of the United States where PaintCare has programs and where people were previously instructed to dry out old latex paint and put it in the trash, we now encourage people to take it to a PaintCare drop-off site so we can sort it and recycle it. Postconsumer 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 in many parts of the country. The paint manufacturing industry supported the laws passed in these eight states and will support additional legislation because these laws enable the paint industry to implement a collection program by providing a level playing field among manufacturers and retailers.
These laws also provide a sustainable financing system and an anti-trust exemption for activities required to run a successful program. The program is funded through fees on each container of architectural paint sold in states with paint stewardship programs. Budgets and fees are set on a state-by-state basis. Please see PaintCare fees for the amounts in each state.
American Coatings Association
The American Coatings Association (ACA) is a non-profit industry trade association advancing the needs of the paint and coatings industry through advocacy and programs that support environmental protection, product stewardship, health, safety, and the advancement of science and technology.
Product Stewardship Institute
The Product Stewardship Institute, Inc. (PSI) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the health and environmental impacts of consumer products. Founded in 2000, PSI brings together key stakeholders with varying interests to develop product end-of-life solutions in a collaborative manner, with a focus on having manufacturers assume primary financial and managerial responsibility. With a robust membership base of 47 state governments and 250 local governments, as well as partnerships with over 90 companies, organizations, and non-U.S. governments, PSI advances both voluntary programs and legislation to promote industry-led product stewardship initiatives.
Fax: (855) 385-2020
Administration, Legal, and Finance
Legislation for Future States
Bringing the PaintCare program to new states
Connecticut & Rhode Island
District of Columbia
Where can I take my leftover paint?
In PaintCare States, there is probably a drop-off site near you. Use our Site Locator to find sites in your area. In other states, our locator will list your nearest local household hazardous waste program.
What are the fees?
PaintCare Fees are applied to the purchase price of paint in every PaintCare State. Fees are set on a state by state basis and range from 35 cents to $1.99 depending on the size and state. For a list of fees in each state please visit our Fees page.
How are fees calculated ?
Fees are set to cover the cost of a fully operating program on a state-by-state basis. First, PaintCare estimates the total expenses to run the program in each state. Next, we estimate the annual paint sales in each state for each size container. Next we divide the estimated total expenses of the program by the number of containers to be sold in the state ─ taking into account each size container. Since PaintCare is a non-profit organization, the fees may be decreased in the future if they were set at a level higher than what is needed to cover expenses, or fees may be increased if they were set too low and do not cover expenses.
Does it cost me to take back paint?
No, there is no charge for dropping off your paint.
Do I get my fee back? Is it a deposit?
No, the fee is not a deposit. Fees are used entirely to cover the expenses of running the program and not given back as a deposit for the return of paint or empty paint cans.
Do all retailers take back paint?
No. Retailers who are serving as PaintCare drop-off sites are volunteers. Not all stores have enough storage space or staff to be drop-off sites. Typically, about twenty percent of paint retailers in any state participate. If you know of a store near you that would like to be a PaintCare drop-off site, ask the manager to contact PaintCare. We’re always interested in adding more drop-off sites.
What happens to the paint?
The paint you drop off is packed into larger containers (boxes or drums) by the staff at the drop-off sites. One of PaintCare’s hauling companies picks up the paint and takes it to their facility for sorting by type. PaintCare manages the paint according to a policy of “highest, best use.” Our goal is to recycle as much as possible. If the paint is not recyclable into new paint, we find the next best use for it. Latex paint and other water-based products are separated from oil-based paint and other solvent-based products. Most of the oil-based paint is then taken to a cement plant where it is blended into a fuel and burned to recover the energy value. Most of the better latex paint (paint that is not rusty, molding or spoiled) is sent to recycling companies and reprocessed into new paint in standard pre-tinted colors. Some latex paint is used to make other products or used for biodegradation projects at landfills. Very little paint is sent to a landfill (about 1-4%). Overall about 1-2% of the paint we receive is simply reused. Some paint is nearly new and in excellent condition and is given away “as is” at some household hazardous waste programs that partner with PaintCare and have reuse programs or “swap shops.” Non-profit ReStores (such as those operated by Habitat for Humanity) that serve as PaintCare drop-off sites also screen out some of the usable paint and sell it in their store.
What should you do with empty paint cans?
PaintCare drop-off sites do not accept empty paint cans. Depending on where you live, you may be able to recycle empty paint cans in your curbside recycling program. If not, they should be disposed of in the trash. It’s important to check with your local recycling or trash services to see what is allowed. In most places, putting any liquids in the trash or recycling bins is prohibited. So, any cans you recycle or dispose of must be truly empty, and the lid should be removed so that trash collectors can see that they are empty.
For Press Inquiries
Contact Paul Fresina at firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 606-3211.
Media in Specific PaintCare States
For information about media in a particular PaintCare state, please see the state’s annual reports. Annual reports can be found in the “Official Docs” section of each state’s Web page. Sample media placements are provided below.
Examples of Advertising and Media
Select samples of PaintCare’s advertising and media placements are shown below. For more examples, please see annual reports for each state program. Annual reports can be found in the Official Docs section of each state’s webpage.
Our Latest Video: Keep What You Need, Recycle the Rest!
Keep What You Need, and Recycle the Rest! Why not get some of that space back where you’ve been storing paint? Now is a great time to keep what you’ll use, and recycle the rest. Find a drop-off location near you… 30 sec.
¡Guarda lo que necesitas, recicla lo que sobra! ¿Por que no reclamas un poco de el espacio en cual has estado almacenando la pintura? Ahora es un buen momento para mantener lo que vayas a usar y reciclar el resto… 30 sec.
Used on TV and digital video
Other TV & Video Spots
Paint Recycling: It’s Easy. (2 minutes) Leo and his daughter Sofia make her bedroom magical with paint; when they are done, they are left with some unused paint…
Starting a new paint project? Buy Right! (30 seconds) Sometimes we buy too little. Sometimes we buy too much. The best way? Measure…
¿Empezando un proyecto nuevo? ¡Asegúrese de comprar correcto! (30 seconds) A veces compramos muy poco. A veces compramos demasiado. ¿La mejor forma? Mida…
Buy Right (30 seconds) Trying to figure out how much paint you need? Ask for advice at…
Use It Up (30 seconds) Running out of ideas for using up leftover paint? Recycle the…
Recycle the Rest (30 seconds) Recycling your paint is easier than you think. Find a drop-off…
Bay Area Muralist Behind the Scenes Video Watch Bay Area muralist, Sirron Norris working on the first PaintCare mural and…
Bay Area Muralist Behind the Scenes Video 2 Watch Bay-Area muralist, Sirron Norris continue his work on the second…
Bay Area Muralist Behind the Scenes Video 3 Watch Bay-Area muralist, Sirron Norris continue his work on the third and final…
Joint Projects with the State of Connecticut
Quinn’s Wastebusting Tips: Paint Smarter A video with tips for buying the right amount of paint, correct paint storage, using up…
PaintCare Connecticut PSA (40 seconds) This Public Service Announcement was co-produced for the Connecticut PaintCare program by…
PaintCare for Retailers (3 minutes) Explains the responsibilities for paint retailers that volunteer to take back leftover paint from…
PaintCare for Transfer Station/HHW Facilities (4 minutes) PaintCare welcomes partnerships with municipal agencies, especially those that operate household…
Public Radio Spots
Red Plum Circular
Newspaper & Magazine
Painted In Blood SlapTV’s frightening submission to PaintCare’s 2015 social media video contest…
Spring Cleaning NANOShorts’ neighborly submission to PaintCare’s 2015 social media video contest…
Recycled Babies A tragic yet hilarious submission to PaintCare’s 2015 social media video contest…
In the News
Here are a few news stories about PaintCare:
- October 2016. WILI (AM) Good Company Radio Interview (Connecticut):Listen to the WILI radio interview with Tom Metzner and Lee Sawyer from from Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) about the state’s comprehensive materials management strategy. The segment about PaintCare starts 6 minutes into the interview. WILI is a station in Willimantic, CT.
- August 9. PaintCare Receives 2016 Product Stewardship Arrow Award (California)
Businesswire (California): California Companies Recognized for Outstanding Achievements in Product Stewardship.
- June 23. The Business Times (Colorado): 290,000 gallons of paint collected in recycling program.
- February 27. The Santa Clarita Valley Signal (California): Event helps Santa Clarita residents give new life to old paint.
- February 2. Northeast Recycling Council (Vermont): Painting Product Stewardship Success.
- December 14. PaintCare releases 2015 annual report (California): PaintCare collected and processed more than 2.7 million gallons of paint.
- November 10. Portland Radio Project’s Interview with Jim Quinn, hazardous waste manager for Metro, one of PaintCare’s partners (Oregon).
- November 9. Northwest Community Television Channel 12 (Minnesota): Paint Recycling Program Helps Boost Business.
- November 5. Sierra Sun, North Lake Tahoe Bonanza (California): Truckee residents, businesses recycle 55,000 pounds of unwanted paint.
- October 2. The Chronicle-News (Colorado): Terra Firma Recycling now accepting unwanted cans of paint for recycling in Trinidad
- October 2. Kennebec Journal / Morning Sentinel (Maine): Skowhegan Now Certified for Paint Recycling
- July 19. Building Online (Colorado): New Colorado Paint Recycling Program Adds More than 60 New Drop-Off Sites
- July 14. Denver 9News (Colorado): Program Makes Recycling Paint More Convenient (Video)
- July 2. Portland Press Herald (Maine): Getting Rid of Old Paint to be Easier in Maine
- March 7. Winona News Journal (Minnesota): Merikel Ace Hardware Now Accepting Unwanted Paint
- March 6. Press Release (California): Video Blog Contest
- March 4. Valley Breeze (Rhode Island): Depault’s in Cumberland recycling paint
- November 18. Star Tribune (Minnesota): Retailers collect old paint under new Minnesota recycling program
- November 12. New Haven Register (Connecticut): Connecticut’s paint recycycling program has successful first year
- September 14. Press Release (Vermont): Vermonters embrace new PaintCare recycling program
- April 4. PBS Curiosity Quest (California): How paint is recycled at Acrylatex, a paint recycling company in Southern California (Video)
- August 26. KPIX Consumer Watch (California): California’s Paint Recycling Program Takes Off (Video)
- July 23. Star Tribune (Minnesota): New law shifts paint recycling costs from Minnesota counties to manufacturers
- July 1. New Haven Register (Connecticut): Governor Malloy touts new paint recycling program (Video)
- February 3. Napa Valley Register (California): New Program Lets Residents Recycle Old Paint