Posted by Diane Capuano
The post-consumer paint management law that recently went into effect in Oregon has become a model for legislation that could be enacted in the coming months. The legislation, signed by Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski in July, requires paint manufacturers to safely manage leftover paint from consumer and contractor painting projects.
The Oregon law is the first of its kind in the United States. Other states are likely to adopt a similar law to management leftover paint in the first part of 2010, with California, Vermont and Connecticut being the most likely to do so.
The non-profit Product Stewardship Institute facilitated a national dialog on this issue, bringing together such interested parties as paint manufacturers, retailers, contractors, recyclers and government officials. Paint manufacturers were represented in this dialog by their trade organization, the American Coatings Association (formerly the National Paint & Coatings Association).
It is estimated that 10 percent of the more than 750 million gallons of architectural paint sold nationwide each year goes unused. The burden for collecting and disposing of that paint costs in the tens of millions of dollars.
An Important Role for Retailers
While paint producers are responsible for management and funding of the leftover paint program, retailers still play an important role. As dictated by the legislation, retailers have the responsibility to ensure that the paint manufacturers represented in their stores are participating in the program.
In an interview with Paint & Decorating Retailer magazine, Scott Cassel, the executive director of the Product Stewardship Institute, cited other ways for retailers to get involved in reducing the amount of leftover paint:
1. They could serve as voluntary collection points where consumers can bring leftover paint.
2. They could sell recycled paint, and
3. They could educate consumers, making sure they buy only the paint they need, use what they buy and donate the rest. If there is still paint left over, retailers should make sure that consumers are aware to bring the paint to a collection point.