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New York state’s paint recycling program a plus

The state Department of Environmental Conservation recently launched a paint recycling program is underway, and that’s great news for the environment.

It’s also helpful to the many people who have leftover paint and don’t know what to do with it — so they collect the cans for years in their shed or cellar, hoping that some day there may be a place to drop them off without having to haul them off to the transfer station.

The DEC has partnered with businesses throughout the state to act as drop-off locations for paint recycling. Even better, we have plenty of locations in the North Country, including in Lake Placid: Aubuchon Hardware stores. That makes it easy and convenient for households and businesses to safely dispose of leftover paint.

PaintCare operates the DEC program.

“Paint products can harm the environment if not managed properly,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a press release. “New York state’s Paint Stewardship Program will simplify the process for those looking to dispose of paint by providing a collection network of paint retailers, local government facilities, and reuse stores at more than 300 drop-off sites across the state.”

Leftover latex and oil-based paints and similar products will be accepted at the drop-off sites.

Specific information can be found online at www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/120606.html. Officially called the “New York State Postconsumer Paint Collection Program,” the service began on May 1.

“As of May 1, 2022, a producer or retailer shall not sell, or offer for sale, architectural paint to any person in the state unless the producer and the producer’s brands are participating in the program by having registered with PaintCare,” the DEC website states.

The program affects the following groups:

¯ Consumers: Consumers will have access to convenient postconsumer paint drop-off sites for the collection, reuse and recycling of architectural paint. The program is funded through the payment of a small fee at the time of the paint purchase.

¯ Retailers: Retailers of architectural paint will only be able to offer for sale architectural paint products and brands belonging to those producers who are registered with the program. Retailers of architectural paint will be given the chance to voluntarily participate as a waste paint drop-off site.

¯ Municipalities: Local municipalities, by participating as waste paint drop-off sites, will benefit from the postconsumer paint collection program since costs associated with the management of waste paint that ends up in the municipal waste streams will be covered by PaintCare.

¯ Producers: Upon program implementation, producers will be prohibited from selling or offering for sale, architectural paint in the state unless the producer and their brands are registered with the department as participating in a postconsumer paint collection program approved by the DEC.

On the PaintCare website, you can find a list of the products it accepts and locations to drop off paint. It has paint-recycling programs in 10 states, plus Washington, D.C. New York has its own landing page: www.paintcare.org/states/new-york/#/new-program-in-2021.

Sites will accept up to five gallons per customer per visit, although some sites may choose to accept more. The paint should be in its original containers with intact labels that identify the product. Paint customers who need to recycle 100 gallons of paint can request a free pick-up at their location, yet some restrictions may apply.

In Washington state, the paint recycling program went into effect on April 1, 2021, and PaintCare collected about 842,000 gallons of unwanted paint in the first year.

We have faith that New York’s numbers will be much higher by the end of April next year. Now we just have to recycle our paint.