How much material are we recycling and still disposing?
How much money do we throw away when we don't recycle?
Paint Recycling and Reuse
Please note: In order to determine the paint recycling rate, architectural paint sales data was used from the Current Industrial Reports provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. These reports have been discontinued. Therefore, this indicator is currently on hold for further updates.
This indicator estimates the percentage of leftover paint, both latex and oil-based, that is recycled and reused in Washington State.
In 2010, Washington households and businesses purchased approximately 14.1 million gallons of architectural paint. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that about ten percent of all paint purchased in the United States becomes "leftover." Therefore, it is projected that 1.4 million gallons of paint were left over from the paint purchased by Washington residents in 2010.
Leftover paint is the largest volume of material collected by local government household hazardous waste (HHW) collection programs. This indicator uses data reported by the HHW collection programs to estimate the percentage of leftover paint that is reused and recycled.
Click on the image below for larger view.
Between 2000 and 2008, the percentage of leftover paint that was reused or recycled increased, peaking in 2007. Several jurisdictions stopped collecting latex paint (but continued to collect oil-based paint) in 2007, so the percentage began to decline after that point. They stopped collecting latex paint because:
Some local HHW collection facilities divert leftover paint through their reuse programs, which also saves the facility the cost of disposal. In addition to direct reuse, latex paints are also typically recycled in one of three ways:
While not considered recycling, some latex paint is processed with other materials and applied as alternative daily cover on landfills.
This indicator has approximately a two-year time lag due to the time involved in gathering, compiling, and analyzing data.
Why should we be concerned about how much paint is reused and recycled?
What are the benefits of reusing and recycling paint?
What are some Beyond Waste actions being taken to increase paint reuse and recycling in Washington?
Ecology and other organizations are:
For more information, contact Gretchen Newman, 360-407-6097.Return to main indicator.
This page last updated August 2012
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