About 10 percent of paint purchased in New York goes unused, resulting in about 3.1 million gallons of leftover paint each year in New York State, according to the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI). Unfortunately, options to drop off unused paint at point-of-purchase locations are limited. Instead of being properly disposed of through periodic household hazardous waste collections, unused paint ends up being tossed in the trash, washed down the drain, or incinerated.
According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, collecting unused paint is a significant cost that is borne by the municipalities that run take back programs. The overall volumes collected are quite low and much of it is latex paint. Grants are not available for latex paint take-back. In Niagara County alone, 65 percent of materials collected at household hazardous waste drives are paint related. Niagara County ends up spending about $36,000 to manage latex paint (about 2 dollars per gallon) and about $30,000 to manage oil-based paint.
Leftover paint has shown to be a headache for both consumers and municipalities. Similar to take-back programs established for electronic waste, rechargeable batteries, and thermostats, this bill would do much to address the issue of leftover paint.
The bill amends Article 27 of the Environmental Conservation Law to create a paint stewardship program.