2014-06-12 / News

Recycle paint at Jamestown Hardware

By Margo Sullivan

Jamestown Hardware will start recycling house paint for customers on July 1, according to owner Scott Sherman. The service is part of Rhode Island’s new paint stewardship program that was developed by the state Department of Environmental Management and PaintCare, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C.

Sherman said 1 percent (65 million gallons) of unused paint ends up in U.S. landfills annually. Typically, he said, people hang on to unused paint on the hunch they might need it for touch-up projects. Then they change the room color and no longer need it. Personally,

Sherman figures he has 10 gallons stockpiled in his house.

The new program simplifies paint recycling, according to DEM spokesperson Gail Mastrati. It gives people the option to drop off paint at convenient locations. The costs for trucks, drivers, disposal and education are being financed by a fee, which customers are automatically charged when they buy paint.

Mastrati said the fees range from 35 cents to $1.60, depending on the size of the container. At Jamestown Hardware, Sherman said customers will pay a 75-cent fee on every gallon of paint purchased and 35 cents on every quart.

He pays the fees when he purchases his inventory from True Value, he said.

“It doesn’t actually cost me anything,” said Sherman. “I get my money back when I sell.”

The fee, which went into effect June 1, is mandatory. However, stores volunteer to participate in the recycling.

Sherman said that he learned the changes were imminent about two months ago, although the program had been discussed for some time. Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed the enabling legislation in 2012, and Sen. Majority Leader Dominic Ruggerio and Rep. Donna Walsh were the co-sponsors.

“The new law requires paint manufacturers to develop a takeback system for leftover paint from household and commercial consumers,” Mastrati said. “The new program is the fifth of its kind in the United States.”

Oregon was the first state to sign up.

Jamestown Hardware decided to sign up and go through the training, Sherman said, so the residents would have a drop-off location on the island.

“We went through a lot to get it here,” he said, “but we think it’s going to make a difference.”

According to Mastrati, Rhode Island will have about 25 dropoff locations around the state, and most will be retail stores.

“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,” she said. “The cost for municipalities to manage leftover consumer paint averages $8 per gallon.”

Mastrati says paint has an annual management cost of $500 million.

Besides saving money, the idea is to make recycling paint easier, Sherman said. To throw latex paint out with the regular garbage, people have to pop the cover, let it evaporate for a couple of weeks, and then separate the clump from the can. Then the rinsed can go in with the recyclables.

Oil-based paint, though, is a hazardous material and could only be dropped off at the Johnston landfill. Contractors, as well as residents, can now drop off their hazardous paint at participating retailers all year round by just walking in with the cans.

The recyclables will go into a locked bin, so the service is available only during regular store hours, Sherman said. People can’t leave the paint otherwise. They also have to sign a book so the store can keep a record.

The paint can be old paint, and it doesn’t matter if the customer paid the new fee.

According to Sherman, Paint- Care employees will incinerate the oil-based paints in a coal stove, and the latex paint could be donated to organizations or disposed of.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Sherman said. “We’re glad to do our part.”

Along with architectural paint, other items that Jamestown Hardware will accept include deck coating, primers, sealers, undercoaters, stains, shellacs, lacquers, varnishes, urethanes, metal coatings, rust preventatives and lawn paints. Not accepted will be paint thinners, solvents, mineral spirits, aerosol cans, auto paint, marine paint, art paint, caulk, epoxies, glues, adhesives, tints, wood preservatives, deck cleaners and traffic paint.

According to Mastrati, leaking, unlabeled or empty containers will not be accepted.

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