- Washington Governor Jay Inslee recently signed SHB 1652 into law, which will increase locations and opportunities for latex and oil-based paint recycling statewide and contribute to reducing the estimated 10% of paint purchased for architectural purposes that goes unused.
- According to the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI), the new program is estimated to divert more than 1.3 million gallons of paint annually once it takes effect in Nov. 2020.
- This marks the 10th state to pass a paint stewardship law in recent years. Oregon was the first in 2009, and California, Colorado, Minnesota, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont and Washington, D.C. have all followed since.
According to Zero Waste Washington, SHB 1652 was eight years in the making. The bill stipulates that a designated stewardship organization must produce a plan that outlines the program by May 2020. Once fulfilled, latex and oil-based paint from businesses and residents can be dropped off for recycling, significantly increasing access and convenience across the state. The organization will also be responsible for implementing the program, supported financially with a line-item fee added on to purchases of new paint gallons in the state. A fee cannot be charged when the unwanted paint is delivered to a participating location for recycling, with the exception of curbside programs.
PaintCare, a 501(c)3 organization started by the American Coatings Association, is expected to be the program administrator for the state of Washington. The organization already handles several programs in other states and, according to PSI, has "processed more than 30 million gallons of paint, created 200 jobs, and saved governments (and taxpayers) over $150 million." Last year, the group won a sustainability award from the Northeast Recycling Council for its work in New England.
Although the industry has reportedly recycled more than 30 million gallons of latex paint over the past 20 years, growth has been slow, and paint stewardship programs have begun receiving more attention as of late. While it remains challenging to pass state extended producer responsibility laws for most products, paint proposals have seen some movement in recent years due to their post-implementation popularity.
In an illustration of this trend, PSI recently formed an official group to champion and represent the recycled paint industry in North America. The International Paint Recycling Association (IPRA) will operate under PSI and aims to promote the benefits of recycled latex paint — namely, its "quality, availability, and value." IPRA provides an informational website as well as a state directory of recycled paint retailers.
Correction: A previous version of this article indicated PaintCare had been selected as the program administration, but that process is not finalized.