Households and businesses across Maryland will soon be able to recycle their leftover paint thanks to a new law that was approved by the Maryland Legislature and signed on Thursday, May 9, by Governor Wes Moore.

Sponsored by Senators Chris West and Ben Brooks and House Delegates Regina T. Boyce, Lorig Charkoudian, Eric Ebersole, Mary A. Lehman, Robbyn Lewis, Dana Stein, and Jen Terrasa, the law will bring the PaintCare program to Maryland.

The program is anticipated to begin operation in 2026 and will offer over one hundred paint drop-off sites throughout the state. Many of these will be conveniently located paint and hardware stores that are open at normal business hours. There will be no cost to households and businesses when dropping off their leftover paint for recycling. Funding to run the program will be included as a small fee added to the purchase price of new paint.

Maryland is the 12th state (in addition to the District of Columbia) to adopt this program, which will be operated by PaintCare, a nonprofit organization created by the paint industry through the American Coatings Association. The other states that have enacted similar legislation and adopted PaintCare are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia.

Currently, most leftover paint is disposed of in landfills and waste to energy facilities or sits unused in basements and garages until it hardens and becomes unusable. The new program will create a system for collecting thousands of gallons of liquid paint for reuse, recycling, and other beneficial use, and will reduce the financial burden of waste management that local governments now shoulder.


“As much as 10% of paint purchased goes unused,” said Senator Chris West, Senator of the 42nd legislative district in Baltimore County and Senate sponsor, “which means that nearly everyone has leftover paint in their garage or basement. That’s why I’m pleased to support the new law which will bring the PaintCare program to Maryland and help Marylanders responsibly dispose of all those leftover cans of paint by just taking them to their local paint store and turning them in, at no cost.”


“This law is a victory for Maryland government and businesses,” said Senator Ben Brooks, Senator of the 10th legislative district of Baltimore County and lead Senate sponsor. “While PaintCare will save money for towns, cities, and residents by shifting the burden of managing unused paint to the manufacturer-led program, paint stores can increase customer foot traffic and sales opportunities by volunteering to be a paint drop-off site.” 


“The new PaintCare program in Maryland will manage leftover paint responsibly through reuse, recycling, or proper disposal,” said Delegate Regina T. Boyce, Delegate of Baltimore City District 43A and lead House sponsor. “That means extending the lifecycle of paint, conserving resources, and reducing the amount of leftover paint that ends up in landfills. A win-win-win for Maryland.”


“We look forward to building on 15 years of experience in other states to launch a program in Maryland that simultaneously works for the paint industry and meets public demand for convenience, efficiency, and cost effectiveness,” said Heidi McAuliffe, senior vice president of government affairs for the American Coatings Association (ACA).


“This law resulted from the collaboration and strong support provided by the paint industry, local governments, paint recyclers, and nonprofit organizations,” said Scott Cassel, founder and CEO of the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI). “It also took the leadership and perseverance of Maryland’s legislative sponsors to make this program a reality.”

The recently passed legislation is based on the “Extended Producer Responsibility” model of assigning the responsibility of collection, reuse, recycling, or disposal of unwanted, leftover material to the manufacturers of those products. The model bill on which it was based was mediated by the Product Stewardship Institute over 15 years ago and has been used as the basis for the 12 other PaintCare programs since that time.

The law adds a small fee to the price of new paint to finance the industry’s management of the program. The fee is based on container size and varies by state. The amount of the fee in Maryland has not yet been set; in other PaintCare states the fee on 1–2-gallon containers ranges from 65 to 99 cents.

PaintCare will partner with both paint retail stores and local government sites, which can choose to participate as drop-off sites voluntarily. Small local retailers have supported the program around the country because it provides increased customer traffic and allows them to provide a valuable community service for customers who will be able to reuse and recycle leftover paint safely and responsibly.

To date, PaintCare has processed more than 70 million gallons of paint and saved local governments millions of dollars. With more than 2,400 voluntary collection sites (77 percent at retail locations), the program provides sites within 15 miles of over 90% of populations served creating unprecedented convenience and enabling participation.


About the American Coatings Association (ACA)

The American Coatings Association is a voluntary, nonprofit trade association representing paint and coatings manufacturers, raw materials suppliers, distributors, and technical professionals. ACA serves as an advocate and ally for members on legislative, regulatory, and judicial issues, and provides forums for the advancement and promotion of the industry through educational and professional development services.

About the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI)

PSI is a policy expert and consulting nonprofit that pioneered product stewardship in the United States — the bedrock of the circular economy. Since 2000, PSI has helped enact 137 extended producer responsibility (EPR) laws across 18 product categories in 33 states. PSI works with governments, academia, nonprofits, and business to ensure that products are responsibly managed from design to end of life.