March 2005

National effort made to cut waste paint from refuse stream
Pennsylvania is the latest state to enlist

Harrisburg, PA— On behalf of Governor Edward G. Rendell, Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty signed a Memorandum of Understanding with various state and local governments, federal regulatory agencies, manufacturers, retailers and others to reduce the amount of leftover paint that finds its way into the municipal waste stream.

“Each year, as much as 34 million gallons of unused paint is disposed of in the United States, much of it improperly, posing a threat to public health and the environment,” Secretary McGinty said. “Pennsylvania spends $1 million a year on household hazardous waste collection and disposal, including paint, so reducing the amount of discarded paint will improve the environment and save money.”

The Product Stewardship Institute, based at the University of Massachusetts, is coordinating this project. The institute works on ways to make better use of products and properly manage them after their useful life has ended to protect the environment.

One of the key goals of this initiative is to find ways to increase the amount of products made from recycled paint, and to make both individuals and companies aware of the potential value of these recycled products. Much of unused paint can be recycled and used again, but that is not currently happening. Aside from using leftover paint for its original intended purpose, recycled paint can be used to make products such as concrete additives, sealers and caulking.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding, which includes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, several state environmental agencies, numerous local governments and leading paint manufacturers, retailers and related companies, the signatories agree to work together to study ways to reduce the amount of paint that is unused and inform the public about proper disposal.

The various groups that have signed this Memorandum of Understanding will work over the next two years to develop a strategy to increase the use of products made from recycled paint, reduce the over-purchasing of paint that leads to unused product, and encourage the proper disposal of unusable paint.

For more information on how to best use and dispose of paint and paint- related products, visit DEP’s website at, Keyword: “DEP Household Hazardous Waste.”

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