We have six coordinators in California. Click here to find the contact person for your area.

PaintCare Drop-off Event

PaintCare plans special, one-day paint drop-off events in some parts of California. These events are open to households and businesses (painting contractors, property managers, etc.) in the state.

Drop-Off Sites

Since beginning in October 2012, PaintCare has set up 808 drop-off sites throughout the state where the public can take unwanted paint for recycling. Most are paint retailers (paint, hardware, and home improvement stores) that volunteer to take back paint. They are available to households, businesses, government agencies, and others with leftover paint in California, and accept paint whenever they are open for business.

man carrying leftover paint cans in a hardware store

Some PaintCare drop-off sites are household hazardous waste programs, either facilities or “round-up events.” These programs are run by local county or city government agencies, often in partnership with the local garbage and recycling company or transfer station. In addition to paint, these programs usually accept other hazardous wastes such as pesticides or solvents.

Most government programs limit participation to households in certain cities or towns. Some also allow businesses to make appointments 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. However, 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.

Products We Accept

Participating PaintCare drop-off locations accept the following:
  • House paint and primers (latex or oil-based)
  • Stains
  • Deck and concrete sealers
  • Clear finishes (e.g., varnishes, shellac)
The architectural paint products we accept are referred to as “PaintCare Products” and must be in containers that are no larger than 5 gallons in size. PaintCare Products must be in their original container with original manufacturer label and secure lid. PaintCare does not accept spray paint (aerosols) or anything in containers larger than 5 gallons. We cannot accept open or leaking cans. Please review our detailed list of opens in a new windowPaintCare Products vs. Non-PaintCare Products.


PaintCare programs are funded by a fee (referred to as the PaintCare fee) which is applied to the purchase price of new paint sold in the state. The fee is paid to PaintCare by paint manufacturers and is then added to the wholesale and retail purchase price of paint, passing the cost of managing post-consumer paint to everyone who buys paint. You may see a line item on your receipt or invoice for each container of paint you purchase. There is no charge for dropping off paint at a PaintCare drop-off site. The PaintCare fee is not a tax; it does not go to the state to operate the program. The PaintCare fee is also not a deposit; you don’t get it back when you drop off paint–a common misunderstanding. Fees fund all aspects of the paint stewardship program. This includes paint collection, transportation, recycling, public outreach, and program administration, and to manage “legacy” paint, material that has been accumulating in homes and businesses from before the program started. The fees are based on container size as follows:
Container Size Fee
Half pint or smaller $0.00
Larger than half pint up to smaller than 1 gallon $0.35
1 Gallon $0.75
Larger than 1 gallon up to 5 gallons $1.60

Program Brochure

PaintCare’s program brochure is intended for the general public. To request free paper copies of this brochure for you or others, please contact us at 855-PAINT09. In addition to paint stores, other organizations (e.g., government agencies, real estate agents, property managers, painting contractors) are welcome to order and distribute brochures.


Professional painting contractors are one of the groups most affected by PaintCare. If you are a painting contractor, please review the information below to learn more about PaintCare, the fees, and paint recycling services available from PaintCare. man carrying leftover paint cans in a hardware store

Fees and Funding

As required by state law, a paint stewardship assessment (“PaintCare Fee”) must be added by manufacturers to the wholesale price of all architectural paint sold in the state. This fee is paid by manufacturers to PaintCare to fund the program, including setting up drop-off sites,  transportation, recycling, and proper disposal of leftover paint. The fees also pay for consumer education and program administrative costs. The fees are based on container size as follows:
Container Size Fee
Half pint or smaller $0.00
Larger than half pint up to smaller than 1 gallon $0.35
1 Gallon $0.75
Larger than 1 gallon up to 5 gallons $1.60
Important Note:
It is expected that contractors will pass the fees on to customers in order to recoup the fees they pay on the product. When estimating jobs, contractors should take these fees into account by checking with suppliers and ensuring quotes include the fees. Let your customers know that fees are included in your quotes.

Business Limits

To use the PaintCare program for oil-based paint, a business must qualify as an exempt generator under federal and any analogous state hazardous waste generator rules. Please visit for more information on exempt generator rules. If your business does not qualify as an exempt generator, it will not be able to use the program for oil-based paint, but it can still use the program for latex products.

Large Volume Pickup (LVP) Service

If you have a large amount of unwanted paint, PaintCare offers door-to-door pick-up service that benefits both contractors and our volunteer drop-off sites. This free service is available to households or businesses with at least 200 gallons of paint.


Information for painting contractors is available in English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Spanish.

Already a Drop-Off Site?

Let your customers know that you are a paint drop-off location!  Visit our Drop-Off Site Promotion Toolkit for artwork for digital advertising, social media, or print advertising. You can also order free point-of-sale (POS) materials or signage for your business or organization. PaintCare provides exempt generator certification forms to drop-off sites to be signed by all businesses and organizations that drop off oil-based paint or other solvent based program products. Signing the form is not necessary for those with only latex or water based program products. The form was updated in August 2017 due to changes to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act regulations by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Download the current form here: Exempt Generator Certification Form Not a drop-off site, but are interested in becoming one? Please see the information in the Partnering with PaintCare section at the bottom of this page.

Responsibilities of All Retailers

The California Paint Stewardship Law requires retailers of paint to (a) include the PaintCare Fee in the retail price of program products, (b) only sell products registered with the program, and (c) maintain certain records for three years. More details are provided here: a. Add PaintCare Fee: Manufacturers must add the PaintCare Fees to their wholesale price of each container of paint. Retailers must ensure these fees are passed down to their consumers. Fees are by container size as follows:
Container Size Fee
Half pint or smaller $0.00
Larger than half pint up to smaller than 1 gallon $0.35
1 Gallon $0.75
Larger than 1 gallon up to 5 gallons $1.60
b. Sell Registered Brands: Retailers must make sure that they do not sell unregistered brands of architectural paint by monitoring the brand lists posted on the CalRecycle website. Retailers can verify the registration of manufacturers and brands using the lists which are updated regularly. If you are a retailer and do not see a manufacturer or brand of paint sold in your store on the lists, please contact PaintCare at (855) 726-6809. PaintCare also posts the lists here: c. Maintain Required Records: retailers must maintain required records for three years. CalRecycle, the state oversight agency, has the right to inspect these records to ensure compliance with the Paint Stewardship Law. Specifically, retailers must provide access to records on all architectural paint sold or offered for sale in California including:
  • the manufacturer of the paint
  • the date(s) the retailer purchased the paint from the manufacturer
  • the date(s) the retailer sold the paint
CalRecycle does not specify the form or method of documentation; retailers may maintain this information in any way they believe will verify compliance in the event of a review by CalRecycle. CalRecycle may use a variety of mechanisms to verify retailer compliance, including, but not limited to, program awareness, physical inspection, product review, and inspection of records as noted above. CalRecycle has stated that it takes a progressive enforcement approach, with education being the first step in the case of non-compliance. If you have additional questions about this requirement, please email CalRecycle at

Publications for Your Customers

Brochures and other printed materials are available to retailers and facilities at no charge. Order additional materials online, or place an order by calling PaintCare at (855) 724-6809 or by sending a completed form by email, fax, or regular mail. The following materials are available:

Publications for Your Employees

Partnering with PaintCare to be a Drop-Off Site

Fact Sheet: How to Become a Drop-Off Site. Explains the responsibilities for paint retailers that volunteer to take back leftover paint from the public.
click to play video
click to play video
Retailers may volunteer to be a paint drop-off site and accept paint from households and certain businesses in their community. To learn more about what is involved in becoming a drop-off site, please read the above fact sheet. If you would like to be a drop-off site, please fill out our opens in a new windowOnline Retailer Interest Form, or use the Word or PDF version and send by email, fax or regular mail.
Working with the CUPA Forum Board, CalRecycle, and the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), PaintCare has made it easier for retail sites to participate in the program through the passage of opens in a new window AB 2748. The law repeals the requirement that paint drop-off locations develop a hazardous materials business plan (HMBP) in order to accept paint from the public intended for recycling. Below is a fact sheet to inform CUPA inspectors of the changes in requirements that took effect as of January 1, 2015.

Partner with PaintCare

PaintCare welcomes partnerships with municipal agencies, especially those that operate household hazardous waste collection programs, landfills, and transfer stations. PaintCare covers the municipal agency’s cost of paint storage bins, paint transportation and recycling, and public outreach and education. (There is no monetary compensation for operations or labor costs associated with serving as a drop-off site.) For municipal agencies that wish to offer services to PaintCare in addition to serving as a drop-off site, monetary compensation may be negotiated. These services include reprocessing paint at your site, bulking paint in situations where storage space is limited, offering usable paint in original containers to the public (Waste Exchanges or Swap Shops), and transportation from municipal-owned satellite locations to a main site. Read more about becoming a PaintCare drop-off location: Watch our video about becoming a PaintCare drop-off location:


If you are already a PaintCare partner you can order PaintCare signs for your location, click here for a Sign Order Form.

Joint Outreach Projects

Municipalities that have contracts with PaintCare may request partial funding for pre-approved joint outreach activities with PaintCare to promote PaintCare drop-off sites and events. Past projects have included newspaper advertising, direct mail, and radio campaigns. For details, please read the following fact sheet.

Reuse Pricing

PaintCare encourages household hazardous waste programs, reuse stores and others to operate paint reuse programs (i.e., swap shops or exchanges). Reuse programs return good quality unused paint to the local community at low or no cost. Reuse is a preferred method of waste management. To encourage reuse, PaintCare will compensate paint drop-off sites operating a reuse program under a contract with PaintCare.

CUPA Inspections

Working with the CUPA Forum Board, CalRecycle, and the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), PaintCare has made it easier for sites to participate in the program through the passage of AB 2748. The law repeals the requirement that paint drop-off locations develop a hazardous materials business plan (HMBP) in order to accept paint from the public intended for recycling.

Infographic Summary of 2020 California Annual Report

This one-page opens in a new window infographic (8.5″x11″) highlights the successes from the most recent reporting period for the California PaintCare Program (July 2019 to June 2020). Please consider downloading and printing a copy of the infographic and then posting it for staff and the public at your business or organization.

Annual Reports

PaintCare prepares an annual report for the 12 months ending June 30.

Program Plan

PaintCare’s program plan for California describes the operations, outreach, and other activities of the California Paint Stewardship Program:


California’s PaintCare Program is a result of Assembly Bill 1343 (Huffman), passed in 2010. The legislation is clarified through California regulations.

Evaluation Reports by Product Stewardship Institute

The Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) evaluated the first two years of the PaintCare program in California. This report summarizes PSI’s findings, based upon surveys conducted with four stakeholder groups – household hazardous waste and waste management coordinators, paint retailers serving as drop-off sites for leftover paint, additional paint retailers, and painting contractors.

State Agency

The oversight agency for the California paint stewardship program is the opens in a new windowCalifornia Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle).

Sales Tax

The California Board of Equalization (BOE) has provided an explanation of why the PaintCare Fee is subject to state sales tax in the following letter: