Contact: Jeremy Jones, West Coast Program Manager, jjones@paint.org (415) 590-0259

It will soon be more convenient than ever to recycle paint in Washington. Once the Washington paint stewardship program officially launches, PaintCare will offer drop-off sites throughout the state where the public can take unwanted paint for recycling.These sites will be available to households, businesses, government agencies, and others with leftover paint in Washington. woman carrying leftover paint cans in a hardware store


The Washington paint stewardship program is required by the Architectural Paint Stewardship Program (70.375 RCW), signed by Governor Jay Inslee on May 9, 2019.

Program Plan

PaintCare’s plan for Washington will be developed over the next year and requires approval by the state’s oversight agency, Washington State Department of Ecology. Once finalized, this plan will describe the program’s paint collection and management system, public outreach, program costs, the fee amounts assessed on new paint sales, and other proposed elements for the Washington Paint Stewardship Program. The program is expected to launch in 2021.

Products We Will Accept

Once the program launches, participating PaintCare drop-off locations in Washington will 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. Once the program launches, the fee is paid to PaintCare by paint manufacturers. This fee 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 will be 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.

Although fees for Washington have not yet been determined (pending approval by the Washington State Department of Ecology), they are expected to be similar to other states with a PaintCare program. The fees are based on container size and vary across the programs:

Container Size Fee
Small containers (e.g., pints & quarts) $0.35–$0.49
Mid-size containers (e.g., 1 gallon) $0.75–$0.99
Larger sizes up to 5 gallons $1.60–$1.99


Paint manufacturers that sell paint directly or indirectly in a PaintCare state are required by each state’s paint stewardship law to register their company and brands with PaintCare. Pre-registration is now available for Washington. Visit our Manufacturers page to learn more and register.
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 setting up drop-off sites for leftover, postconsumer paint, and for the transportation, recycling, and proper disposal of that paint. Although fees for Washington have not yet been determined (pending approval by the Washington State Department of Ecology), they are expected to be similar to other states with a PaintCare program. The fees are based on container size and vary across the programs:
Container Size Fee
Small containers (e.g., pints & quarts) $0.35–$0.49
Mid-size containers (e.g., 1 gallon) $0.75–$0.99
Larger sizes up to 5 gallons $1.60–$1.99

Important Note:
It is expected that contractors will pass the fees on to their 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 your suppliers to make sure the quotes for paint products include the fees. You should also let your customers know that you will be including these fees in your quotes.

Use of Retail Drop-Off Sites by Businesses

Retail drop-off sites provide a convenient and no cost recycling option for painting contractors and other businesses. Businesses that generate less than 220 pounds of hazardous waste* per month will be able to use these sites to recycle all program products (both water and oil-based) with some restrictions on quantities per month. Larger businesses (those that generate more than 220 pounds of hazardous waste per month) may use the drop-off sites for their water-based program products only; they are not able to use the sites for oil-based paint or other solvent-based products. * 220 pounds is about 20-30 gallons of paint. When counting how much hazardous waste you generate in a month, oil-based paint counts (because by law it is a hazardous waste), but latex and other water-based paint does not count toward the 220 pound monthly total.

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. Once the program launches, this free service will be available to households or businesses with at least 200 gallons of paint.


Information for painting contractors is available below.

Responsibilities of All Retailers

Washington Paint Product Stewardship Act requires retailers of paint to include the PaintCare Fee in the sale price of program products and only sell products registered with the program. (Retailers may also volunteer to become a drop-off site – see fact sheet below). More details are provided here: a. Add Assessment Fee: Manufacturers must add the PaintCare Fee to their wholesale price of each container of paint. Retailers must ensure these fees are passed down to the consumer. Although fees for Washington have not yet been determined (pending approval by the Washington State Department of Ecology), they are expected to be similar to other states with a PaintCare program. The fees are based on container size and vary across the programs:
Container Size Fee
Small containers (e.g., pints & quarts) $0.35–$0.49
Mid-size containers (e.g., 1 gallon) $0.75–$0.99
Larger sizes up to 5 gallons $1.60–$1.99

b. Sell Registered Brands: Once the program launches, retailers must make sure they do not sell unregistered architectural paint brands. PaintCare will post lists of registered manufacturers and brands on this page once registration has begun in advance of the program launch. If you are a retailer and do not see a manufacturer or brand of paint sold in your store on these lists, please contact PaintCare at (855) PAINT09. c. Provide information to consumers about the paint stewardship program and recycling opportunities in Washington. PaintCare will provide a General Poster and Program Brochure to help retailers meet this requirement. See ordering information below.

Publications for Your Customers

Once the program launches, brochures and other printed materials will be available to retailers and facilities at no charge. You will be able to order additional materials online, or place an order by calling PaintCare at (855) PAINT09 or by sending a completed form by email, fax, or regular mail. The following materials will be available:
  • Program Brochure (“Recycle with PaintCare”)
  • Mini-Card (Find a paint drop-off site)
  • Fact Sheet: Painting Contractors. This fact sheet was developed at the request of retailers to help explain the program to their customers who are painting contractors. Some retailers have found it useful to send this to regular customers with monthly statements.
  • Fact Sheet: Large Volume Pick-Up Service.
  • General Poster for Retailers. Display in stores in the paint department or near the cash registers to help explain the program to customers.
  • Leftover Paint Receipt Form. Use this receipt if someone dropping off paint asks for one. (Some county or city inspectors ask businesses to show receipts to demonstrate that they disposed or recycled of their paint.)

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.
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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.

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 cost of paint storage bins, paint transportation and recycling, public outreach, and education. There is no monetary compensation for operations or labor costs associated with serving as a drop-off site. To learn more, please see the following fact sheets and interest forms. 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 Exchange”), 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:

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. PaintCare allows two different reporting methods by container or by volume as described here.