Brush Up Your Home's Appearance With Recycled Paint

Posted by Kylie Noell on March 12th, 2014 | View comments

While you can certainly shop for newly manufactured eco friendly paint for your home, you can also tap into the recycled paint market, which is another great way to shrink your environmental footprint. Recycled paint reduces the need for landfill space, conserves water needed to make new paint and prevents the pollution from the mining and extraction of raw materials. Concerned you won’t get the same quality out of recycled paint? Well, the paint recycling process is carefully controlled, monitored and tested so that the end product is of the same caliber as any new paint product on the market.

While several companies across the country have been recycling paint for more than a decade, new legislation is rolling out across the nation that will make the recycling process easier and more accessible for homeowners, businesses and anyone who has leftover paint.

PaintCare is non-profit organization created by the American Coatings Association (ACA), who passed the first stewardship law in the United States in the state of Oregon in 2009. Since then PaintCare has set up programs in California and Connecticut with plans to establish more in Rhode Island, Vermont, Minnesota and Maine. Similar legislation is expected to be introduced to several other sates across the county over the next few years.

So, how does this paint recycling process really work? We talked to a few of the major paint recycling facilities to get the scoop on the revival process.

MetroPaint, located in Portland, Oregon, has been recycling paint for 20 years and started selling their postconsumer paint product in 1999. The state has 120 collection points that gather leftover architectural latex paint. The cans are then transported to the MetroPaint recycling facility. The company inspects the leftover paint for debris and bacterial spoilage, among other things, to determine if it can be used. The reusable paint is then sorted by color and mixed by a high-powered mixer. MetroPaint then tests the paint for performance, thickness, weight, purity, durability, longevity both in can and on the wall, gloss level, resistance to bacteria and how well it coats. Following this process, the paint is tested against a MetroPaint standard color and adjusted to the right shade without the use of dyes or color additives.

“We recycle as much as possible,” says Jim Quinn, Hazardous Waste Program Manager at Metro. “The one gallon cans we receive are recycled for scrap metal and the wash water that we generate is used in the biodegradation process of landfills.”

MetroPaint can be purchased at any of the 60 retail outlets that carry it in the state of Oregon for $10 a gallon.

Acrylatex, which was established in California in 2008, is another paint recycling company that benefits from legislation put in place by PaintCare. The state has over 500 drop off locations now, making it easy for consumers to recycle their leftover paint.

“We believe in recycling everything,” says Gary Erb of Acrylatex. “We recycle the old cans and pails. Even the hardened paint that would normally end up in a landfill is made into a decorative landscaping material.”

Gary also points out that purchasing recycled paint is not only a great environmental choice, but it’s also a cost-effective choice. Recycled paint can be purchased for half the price of newly manufactured paint because the high cost of actually creating the paint has been taken out of the equation. You can purchase Acrylatex paint online at paints4less.com.

Amazon Paint, another paint recycling company, has been recycling latex paint since 1992. This company also inspects the paint, sorts it, mixes it and tests it for coverage, pH and other characteristics. Any paint that can’t be recycled for Amazon’s Select Recycled Content Paint can actually be useful in other applications. Amazon produces a separate product that can be used for graffiti abatement, as well as a binder or dust control agent in the manufacture of various products including portland cement. You can find Amazon Paint a number of retail stores across the country for around $18.99 a gallon.

If you have leftover paint cans at home that you’d like to recycle, paintcare.org or earth911.com can help you find recycling centers in your area. If you can’t find a center through these resources, you can always check with your state’s environmental protection agency to find out where you can recycle your paint.

If you’re thinking of giving your home a facelift, search for painters in your area by browsing through these contractor listings. Before you hire a painter to do work on your home, make sure you read our FAQ: What points should be in an agreement with a painting contractor or company?

For more on green home improvements see our FAQ: Why should I go green?

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