When we first moved into our house, there were about 17 dusty and used paint cans sitting on a shelf in the basement. These were colors that were several owners ago – not just the last couple that owned the home. These ghost cans were decades old! I could hear the dusty sighs of homeowners past as I looked at the yellows, shades of terra-cottas, beige and a few more beiges and lots of exterior house paint colors with stains. If you have this situation too – your best option is to recycle those old cans. Along with me telling you how to do this – I thought that I would share a handful of my favorite paint colors from this year and last!
In Colorado and eight other states across the U.S., there is a solution to help you recycle and properly dispose of unused paint through PaintCare. PaintCare is a paint recycling program that makes it easy for consumers and businesses to drop off their unused, unwanted paint for free recycling at 150 participating locations in Colorado – so there’s really no excuse. If you’re like me, you can still drive around with it in the back of your car like you do with your thrift store donations, but it will eventually get to the right place!
PaintCare drop-off sites are located mostly at paint and hardware stores – I go to Guiry’s in Denver all the time and they are a drop off site. They accept all paint brands, regardless of when or where they were purchased (good for all the ancient cans in my basement). Items that can be dropped off for recycling include most house paints, primers, stains, sealers, and clear top coatings (varnish and shellac). Drop-off sites are open year-round during each retail location’s regular business hours. Again, it’s very easy to do the right thing.
What do they do with the old paint? The PaintCare program transports the collected paint from the drop-off sites to processing facilities, where it is remixed into recycled-content paint, used as fuel, made into other products or, in the case of some unrecyclable paint, it will be dried out and properly disposed. Paint manufacturers created PaintCare, a non-profit stewardship organization, to run recycling programs in states as they pass paint stewardship laws. As a designer, I am mindful that a lot of my business has the potential to involve sending things to the landfill – this is a great program to help homeowners dispose of old paint responsibly.
PaintCare was signed into law in Colorado by Governor Hickenlooper in 2014 and launched in July, 2015. While there is no charge to drop paint off for recycling, a nominal fee has been added to the price of paint sold in Colorado as of July 1, 2015 to fund all aspects of the program, including paint collection, transportation, recycling, public outreach, and program administration. The fee varies by the size of container: 35 cents for pints and quarts, 75 cents for one gallon cans, and $1.60 for 5 gallon buckets. I bet most people didn’t know this – I didn’t!
So far in Colorado more than 1.1 million gallons of paint have been recycled. It takes 660,000 gallons to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool – so consider that!
For more information about PaintCare and to find a PaintCare drop-off site near you, visit www.paintcare.org.
“There is no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere.” Annie Leonard, attributed, The Story of STUFF Project