Thursday, October 1st marked the official start of Maine’s Paint Stewardship Program making Maine just the eighth state in the nation to establish a system to help people dispose of unused, unwanted paint without taking it to a landfill.
The Maine Paint Stewardship Program is modeled on those already proving successful in other states around the nation. Unused paint can be taken to any of more than sixty retail locations around the state and no fee is charged to drop it off.
The program, which is managed by PaintCare, a non-profit based in Washington D.C., removes unused paint from landfills where it can release long lasting toxic chemicals, polluting soil, ground water, lakes, and streams. When the NRCM-supported legislation creating the Maine Paint Stewardship Program was first introduced in 2013 it was estimated that Mainers generated nearly 200,000 gallons of unused paint each year.
PaintCare will take the unused paint to a facility after it is collected for reuse, recycling, energy recovery, or safe disposal. Sometimes, for example, the paint is mixed together and used to paint large buildings, such as schools and outdoor facilities. In order to pay for this new program, consumers will be charged a disposal fee when they purchase new paint. Fees range from thirty five cents per pint to $1.60 per five-gallon bucket.
The Natural Resources Council of Maine was instrumental in the passage of this law back in 2013, and recently helped to defeat some overly restrictive DEP rules that could have prevented the program from getting off the ground. We are delighted to announce the official start of this new program and are working to ensure its success!
To find a list of drop-off locations near you, visit http://www.paintcare.org/, click on the ‘Drop-off Locations’ link and enter your zip code.