It’s more convenient than ever to recycle paint in California. Since the start of the California paint stewardship program in October 2012, PaintCare has set up 786 drop-off sites in California where the public can take unwanted, leftover paint for recycling. Most of these sites are at paint retailers (paint, hardware, and home improvement stores) that have volunteered to take back paint, and they are available to any household and business in California. These stores accept paint whenever they are open for business.
A number of PaintCare drop-off sites are household hazardous waste programs — either facilities or “round-up events.” These programs are run by a local county or city government agencies, often in partnership with the local garbage and recycling company or transfer station. In addition to accepting paint, these programs usually accept other non-paint hazardous wastes (e.g., pesticides, solvents). Most of these government programs limit participation to households in certain cities or towns. Some of these government programs also allow businesses to make appointments during during special hours. Businesses are usually charged fees for non-paint hazardous waste, and sometimes they are charged an administrative fee to schedule an appointment, but they are not charged for paint, on a per gallon basis, if the agency is a PaintCare partner.
A few restrictions apply: there are limits on how much paint can be dropped off per visit. Also, note that certain businesses — those that produce more than 220 pounds (about 20-30 gallons) of hazardous waste per month — can only drop off latex paint (they may not drop off oil-based paint). When you decide it’s time to recycle your paint, please call the site ahead of time to confirm their hours and to make sure they have space to accept the amount of paint you would like to recycle.