PROVIDENCE, RI - Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee has signed into law the nation's fourth program requiring paint manufacturers to safely manage leftover latex and oil-based paint from households and painting contractors. The legislation was supported by the paint industry and resulted from a multi-stakeholder negotiation facilitated by the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI).
The bill, introduced by Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio and Representative Donna Walsh, will slash tax dollars spent on paint disposal, increase recycling jobs and reduce waste. Similar laws have also passed in Oregon, California and Connecticut in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively.
"With the new program established in the Paint Producer Responsibility Law, Rhode Island will have convenient options for residents to safely recycle or dispose of unwanted paint by taking it to a participating retailer or household hazardous waste program," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "Thanks to the cooperation of the paint industry, we will be able to increase our recycling, save money for municipalities and provide a valuable service to our citizens, all at no cost to state taxpayers."
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that about 10 percent of all paint purchased in the United States becomes leftover - around 64 million gallons annually. The cost for municipalities to manage leftover consumer paint averages $8 per gallon, making paint a half a billion dollar per-year management cost. As a result of this law, Rhode Island could reap financial benefits up to $1.7 million annually if all 220,000 gallons of leftover paint available each year in Rhode Island is collected and recycled.
"This law is a great example of how government and industry can work together to turn waste into a new product, save Rhode Island taxpayers millions of dollars and add recycling jobs," said Scott Cassel, PSI's Chief Executive Officer. "It shows that regulation can stimulate innovation and increase the supply of a valuable commodity by setting a level playing field."
"ACA is pleased to have Rhode Island as the fourth state in the U.S. to implement the PaintCare program. PaintCare will provide Rhode Island residents convenient access to locations throughout the state where they can easily return unused paint for recycling and proper disposal," said Alison Keane, Vice President of Government Affairs for the American Coatings Association.
The bill calls for the creation of a statewide leftover paint stewardship program that would be managed by a stewardship organization. The program would be funded by an assessment on retail paint products, which would cover the cost of paint collection, reuse, recycling and the safe disposal of remaining unusable paint. In addition, the legislation mandates the establishment of convenient collection sites throughout Rhode Island, as well as comprehensive consumer education and outreach efforts.