By Rep. SCOTT BURNS
For the Monitor
Do you ever wonder what to do with the unused paint in your basement, attic or garage? Is that once-a-year household hazardous waste disposal day working for you? Wouldn’t you rather go to your municipality or a local paint supply store to drop off unused paint any day of the week?
The Paint Stewardship Program (HB 1570) will allow a nonprofit organization to administer a paint recycling program throughout the state.
The program will allow you to drop off your unused paint, during business hours, to a municipality or retail paint store that voluntarily joins the program. Unlike the current system, paint can be returned in any state (liquid, dried out, stuck to the can).
PaintCare, a nonprofit recycling company created by the paint manufacturers’ association, the American Coat Association, manages the reuse, recycling and proper disposal of unused paint. PaintCare has been working in Oregon, California and Connecticut administering their paint recycling programs. Oregon’s program has been in operation for three years. similar legislation has been passed in Minnesota, Vermont, Maine and Rhode Island.
This program should take in about 278,000 gallons of paint annually and save $2.2 million of city and town money. The biggest savings will be seen in transporting paint and in reduced tonnage or tipping fees. PaintCare will pay for this program through a fee paid by retailers. The ACA audits the producers to ensure they are collecting the assessment fees and paying PaintCare to fund the recycling program. PaintCare is audited by an independent auditor to ensure the money collected is used only for the recycling program. On a yearly basis, the Department of Environmental Services requests an audit for review to ensure the plan is being implemented correctly.
PaintCare will pick up its storage bins at collection points and pay for transportation to a re-seller or to a place where the paint is mixed, given out or sold. For example, Oregon has a Habitat for Humanity re-seller that gives out the recycled paint for free or at a reduced price to low-income residents. A goal for New Hampshire is to have a re-seller like Habitat for Humanity. PaintCare will train associates and municipal workers on what is accepted and what to do with the unaccepted items such as paint thinners.
If you think HB 1570, the Paint Stewardship Program, is a good fit for New Hampshire, contact your state representative before Wednesday. Northeast Resource Recovery Association, the Statewide Regional Planning Commission and the New Hampshire Municipal Association are in favor of this program and would like to start it by July 1, 2015.
(State Rep. Scott Burns is a Democrat representing Franklin Ward 1 and 2 and Hill.)