July 31, 2023 – Households and businesses across Illinois will soon be able to recycle their leftover paint thanks to a new law that was overwhelmingly approved by the Illinois General Assembly and signed on Friday July 28 by Governor J. B. Pritzker. According to Illinois State Senator Linda Holmes, the chief sponsor of the new law, over 1 million gallons of paint will be managed annually under an industry-managed paint recovery and recycling program. “It is exciting to offer this service to Illinoisans with old paint taking up space in their homes,” said Holmes (D-Aurora).

The program is anticipated to go into effect in 2025 and will offer hundreds of conveniently located drop-off locations throughout the state. There will be no cost to residents and businesses when dropping off their unwanted paint for recycling; funding to run the program will be included in the cost of new paint.

Illinois is the 11th state (in addition to the District of Columbia) to adopt this model program, which will be managed by PaintCare, a nonprofit organization created by the paint industry through the American Coatings Association. The other states that have enacted similar legislation over the past several years are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Maine, New York, Washington, and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia.

“Consumers will now have the opportunity to declutter their homes of old paint and feel confident that their waste is being recycled and disposed of in an environmentally sustainable way,” Holmes said.

Most leftover paint is currently disposed of in landfills or waste to energy facilities. The new program will create recycling sector jobs in the reprocessing of millions of gallons of paint for reuse and recycling and reduce the financial burden of waste management that local governments now shoulder.

“We look forward to building on more than 10 years of experience in other states to launch a program in Illinois that simultaneously works for the paint industry and meets public demand for convenience, efficiency, and cost effectiveness,” said Heidi McAuliffe, vice president of government affairs for the American Coatings Association (ACA).

“It is gratifying to see how all the work put in by PSI, ACA, paint recyclers, and governments to develop a model extended producer responsibility bill for paint has spread across the country,” said Scott Cassel, PSI’s chief executive officer. “Adding Illinois to the list of PaintCare states will increase the supply of high quality paint that is now available to expert paint recyclers.”

“The Illinois Product Stewardship Council is excited to see unwanted latex paint recovered, and returned to consumers as a high quality, more economical selection, contributing to a circular economy,” said Marta Keane, Chairperson of the Illinois Product Stewardship Council. “This process results in more jobs and less waste while providing both residents and businesses more convenient access to recycling and proper disposal.”

“Recycled paint manufacturers have created extensive processing capacity across the country in anticipation of paint EPR laws,” said Sanjeev Bagaria, CEO of GDB International and a founding board member of the International Paint Recycling Association. “Our facility in Nashville, IL, is well suited and ready to recycle the large quantity of leftover paint expected from the state.”

The recently passed legislation is based on the “Extended Producer Responsibility” model of assigning the responsibility of collection, recycling, and disposal of unwanted products to the manufacturers of those products. The model paint bill was mediated by the Product Stewardship Institute over a decade ago and has been used as the basis for launching the 11 other PaintCare programs since that time. The bill adds a small fee to the price of new paint to finance the industry’s management of the program, ensuring a level playing field among all manufacturers.

The program will partner with both paint retail stores and local government sites, who can choose to participate as paint 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 safely and responsibly reuse and recycle leftover paint.

To date, PaintCare has processed more than 60 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 has created unprecedented convenience for consumers to drop off leftover paint, stains, and varnishes.


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 advocate and consulting nonprofit that pioneered product stewardship in the United States — the bedrock of the circular economy. Since 2000, PSI has helped enact 135 extended producer responsibility (EPR) laws across 18 product categories in 33 states. We work with governments, academia, nonprofits, and business to ensure that products are responsibly managed from design to end of life.