Take-back programs expand – Oregon launches paint product stewardship program

On 29 June 2010, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality announced that it had approved a paint product stewardship pilot program plan. The take-back program, also known as the PaintCare program, is the United States’ first paint stewardship program requiring paint manufacturers to manage post-consumer paint. The PaintCare program officially commenced on 1 July 2010. According to the Department, the PaintCare program is expected to collect as much as 600,000 gallons of leftover paint annually in Oregon.

A law requiring paint manufacturers to manage leftover architectural paint from consumer and contractor painting jobs was signed in Oregon in 2009. The law was enacted because an estimated ten percent of the more than 750 million gallons of architectural paint sold each year in the United States is unused and post-consumer paint is the largest component of local household hazardous waste collection programs. The law concerns architectural paint, which is defined as interior and exterior architectural coatings sold in containers of five gallons or less. Architectural paint does not mean industrial, original equipment or specialty coatings. The law requires manufacturers of paint sold in Oregon to establish a statewide paint stewardship pilot program through a stewardship organization. Accordingly, PaintCare, Inc, the industry non-profit association, was formed by American Coatings Association as the stewardship organization of the manufacturers of paint sold in Oregon.

The key elements of the PaintCare program stated in the Oregon Paint Stewardship Pilot Program Plan are as follows:

1. Collection: a statewide network of collection sites for consumers who want to dispose of leftover paint. Collection sites include retailers and local government.

2. Transportation: filled collection bins will be transported from the collection sites to consolidation locations or to processors.

3. Processing: management of the collected post-consumer paint for end-of-product-life management (i.e. reuse, recycling, energy recovery and disposal).

4. Outreach and education: a public awareness and education program including a website and point-of-sale information.

5. Administration: PaintCare, Inc. will administer the program as the stewardship organization. Paint producers will report sales and remit to PaintCare, Inc. the assessment required to fund the program.

Consumers will pay for the program by paying a surcharge on paint and stain containers. Participating manufacturers will remit payment of a PaintCare Recovery Fee on all paint they offer for sale in Oregon. PaintCare, Inc will pay an administrative fee to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality annually on behalf of manufacturers. Manufacturers of covered products are not allowed to sell their product in Oregon unless they are participating in the PaintCare program.

The Oregon’s paint stewardship program, which is the first of its kind in the nation, could be seen as an indication of the growing producer responsibility movement. Manufacturers of more, different products are becoming accountable in more states for end-of-life management of the products they manufacture. Currently, there are over 50 state product stewardship laws in 31 states.

The expansion of take-back programs in the United States reflects a growing international trend. Product stewardship schemes for products such as paint are under consideration in countries including Canada and Australia.

Min Kho

EHS Consultant

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