Residents and businesses across New York State will soon be able to recycle their unwanted paint thanks to a new law that was overwhelmingly approved by the New York State Legislature and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. According to the NY Product Stewardship Council, more than 2 million gallons of paint will be recycled annually under an industry-managed paint recovery and recycling program.
Almost all unwanted paint is currently disposed of in landfills or waste to energy facilities. The new program will create recycling sector jobs in the reprocessing of millions of gallons of paint for reuse and recycling, and reduce the financial burden of waste management that local governments now shoulder. The program is anticipated to go into effect in early 2021, and will offer hundreds of conveniently located drop-off locations throughout the state. There will be no cost to residents and businesses when dropping off their unwanted paint for recycling; funding to run the program is included in the cost of new paint.
New York is the 10th state (in addition to the District of Columbia) to adopt this program, which will be managed by PaintCare, a nonprofit organization created by the paint industry through the American Coatings Association. The other states that have enacted similar legislation over the past several years are Oregon, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Washington, and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia.
FROM THE AMERICAN COATINGS ASSOCIATION (ACA)
“We look forward to building on our 10 years of experience in other states to launch a program in New York that not only works for the paint industry, but also meets public demand for convenience, efficiency, and cost effectiveness,” said Heidi McAuliffe, vice president of government affairs for the American Coatings Association (ACA).
FROM THE NY STATE ASSOCIATION OF COUNTIES (NYSAC)
“Municipalities spend millions of dollars annually to collect and manage a small fraction of unwanted paint, stated Steven Acquario, Executive Director of the NY State Association of Counties. ”By creating an industry-managed paint collection network, this program will reduce a costly burden on local governments while increasing resident convenience, keeping paint out of landfills, and creating green sector jobs. This legislation is mandate relief for local
taxpayers. NYSAC commends the Legislature for including this legislation in an historic session for the environment and is pleased the Governor signed it into law.”
FROM THE NEW YORK LEAGUE OF CONSERVATION VOTERS
“New York State has joined almost a dozen other states in implementing a common-sense paint stewardship program,” said Julie Tighe, President of the NY League of Conservation Voters. “It will reduce paint waste from burdening our landfills, save local governments money, and protect public health. That’s why this policy has been one of NYLCV’s priorities for ten years. We thank Governor Cuomo for signing the paint stewardship bill into law and Senator Kennedy and Assemblymember Englebright for sponsoring this important bill.”
FROM CITIZENS CAMPAIGN FOR THE ENVIRONMENT (CCE)
“Rather than continuing to be sent to landfills or eating up a significant portion of local householdhazardous waste budgets, this law will help ensure that our leftover paint is recycled in a fiscally- responsible and environmentally-friendly manner,” said Brian Smith, Associate Executive Director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “CCE commends Assemblyman Englebright andSenator Kennedy for their leadership in getting this important legislation passed.”
FROM THE NY STATE ASSOCIATION FOR SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT
“The NY State Association for Solid Waste Management is proud to be a part of the success of this new bill for Paint Stewardship, which aims to resolve a challenging recycling issue for communities across NY State,” stated Steve McElwain, President of the NY State Association For Solid Waste Management . “We urge the State Legislature to build upon this forward looking approach in tackling other recycling issues that affect all materials management operations.”
FROM THE SOLID WASTE ASSOCIATION OF NORTH AMERICA, NY CHAPTER
“The new Extended Producer Responsibility legislation creating a paint recycling program willbenefit the environment while making it more convenient for New York residents to recycle their leftover paint,” stated SWANA-NY President Louis Vetrone. “In doing so, it will also result in significant savings for our municipalities and taxpayers. Thank you to the legislators andstakeholders who worked so hard to make this possible.”
FROM THE NEW YORK STATE ASSOCIATION FOR REDUCTION, REUSE, AND RECYCLING
Kelli Timbrook, President of the NY State Association for Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling (NYSAR3)stated, “We applaud the NY State Legislature and Governor Cuomo for supporting recycling by placing responsibility for recovery and reprocessing of unwanted materials where it best belongs: with product manufacturers. This new policy will increase recycling across New York State, while reducing municipal waste disposal costs.”
FROM THE PRODUCT STEWARDSHIP INSTITUTE
“With leadership from the paint industry and persistent engagement by many stakeholders, New York State has taken a big step forward by establishing extended producer responsibility for paint,” said Scott Cassel, PSI’s chief executive officer. “The new paint program will collectively save local governments across NY State millions of dollars each year, increase environmental benefits, and create recycling jobs.”
FROM THE NY PRODUCT STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL
Andrew Radin, Chair of the NY Product Stewardship Council, stated “There was strong bi-partisan support for this environmental measure thanks to the leadership of our elected representatives, including Assembly members Steven Englebright, Chrystal People-Stokes, and Al Stirpe, as well asState Senators Todd Kaminsky, Tim Kennedy, and Thomas O’Mara. We also thank Governor Cuomo for signing the bill which will increase recycling, create jobs, and reduce municipal costs.”
The recently passed legislation is based on the “Extended Producer Responsibility” model of assigning the responsibility of collection, recycling, and disposal of unwanted products to the manufacturers of those products. The model paint bill was mediated by the Product Stewardship Institute over a decade ago and has been used as a basis for launching the ten other statewide PaintCare programs since that time. The bill adds a small recycling fee to the price of new paint to finance the industry’s management of the program, ensuring a level playing field among all manufacturers. The collection sites in the program are expected to be paint stores and local government sites, who can choose to participate voluntarily.
Small local retailers, in particular, have supported the program around the country because it provides increased customer traffic and allows them to provide a valuable community service for customers, who will be able to safely and responsibly reuse and recycle unwanted paint and paint containers. To date, PaintCare has processed more than 38 million gallons of paint, and saved local governments millions of dollars. With more than 1,700 voluntary collection sites (77 percent at retail locations), the program has created unprecedented convenience for consumers to drop off leftover paint, stains, and varnishes.