A new New York State statute (S.4351/A.6373) would create a “Postconsumer Paint Collection Program” for paint containers of five gallons or less. The idea is to transfer the burden of disposing of unused paint from local governments to the manufacturers of such coatings.
Under the statute, manufacturers who sell paints or other architectural coatings in New York State must—either individually or as part of a cooperative industry-wide effort—submit a plan by July 2020 to the State Environmental Commissioner outlining a program for the collection, recycling and end-of-life management of post-consumer paints.
The plan must provide for “convenient and cost-effective” publicly accessible drop-off locations for the collection of unused interior and exterior paints, varnishes, shellacs, primers, sealers etc. Such locations would presumably include paint retailers, hardware stores and certain governmental facilities. Implementation of the new program would begin by January 2021. Once collected, the unused paint would be reused, recycled or properly disposed of in an operation most likely run by an industry-created stewardship organization.
If, as expected, Governor Andrew Cuomo, signs this legislation, New York State will join nine others and Washington D.C., which have already implemented similar programs. This pragmatic legislation was championed in the Senate by Environmental Committee Ranking Member Tom O’Mara and in the Assembly by Environmental Committee Chair Steve Englebright.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that about 10 percent of all paint sold in the nation is not used and ultimately makes its way into the waste stream. In New York State, that equals nearly 4 million gallons of leftover paint every year, according to the New York Product Stewardship Council.