Minnesota’s new paint-recycling program far exceeded expectations as the public, the state and retail stores helped collect more than 1 million gallons of old paint during its first full year.
The Minnesota Architectural Paint Stewardship Program collected and processed more than 1 million gallons of old paint in the program’s first full year, July 1, 2015, to June 30, according to a report released Monday by the nonprofit administrator PaintCare.
That is 26 percent more than expected, said Steve Pincuspy, program manager in Minnesota for PaintCare, which administers the program for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).
The program relies on homeowners and contractors to drop off old paint at participating paint stores and hardware stores and county-run hazardous waste sites.
“We are just very satisfied with the program and glad that it’s up and running,” said Garth Hickle, the MPCA’s product stewardship team leader. “We are really pleased with how it’s functioning now.”
Some 77 percent of the 1 million gallons collected was latex paint that was either recycled into new paint or blended into a material used to cover landfills.
The remaining 23 percent was oil paint, 91 percent of which became fuel for large industrial boilers, while 9 percent became new paint.
The fees — either 35 cents, 75 cents or $1.60, depending on the size of the paint can — are expected to eventually pay for the entire recycling program. During the first year, however, fee revenue fell short.
Minnesota’s PaintCare administrators collected $5.43 million in fees on the sale of 9.2 million gallons of paint during the reporting period.
The revenue was less than the $5.75 million PaintCare spent collecting, transporting and processing old paint in the state of Minnesota. Right now, PaintCare, which operates paint recycling programs in several states, is subsidizing Minnesota’s deficit, MPCA officials said.
Eventually, fees from paint manufacturers may be adjusted to make sure that program costs are fully recouped, Hickle said.
Fridley-based Amazon Environmental processed all of the paint collected statewide. The new program also recycled 548 tons of metal and plastic paint containers in the 12-month period that ended in June.
Minnesota’s paint program technically began in November 2014. But Monday’s report marks the first full year under a new law that did two things: It set up 193 drop-off sites for used paint inside hardware and paint stores. And it implemented new fees for paint manufacturers such as Valspar, Hirshfield’s and Sherwin-Williams. The fees are now wrapped into the sale price of every can or drum of new paint sold in the state.
Fees aside, state and PaintCare officials said they are pleased that participation in Minnesota’s paint recycling efforts grew dramatically during the year. Initially, 176 paint retailers volunteered to let the public drop off old paint at their stores. By June, that number had grown to 193 stores, which is 27 percent of all the paint stores in Minnesota.
In addition, PaintCare picked up paint from 63 businesses that each had more than 300 gallons of paint to recycle.
Separately, the number of participating county waste-collection sites grew from 40 to 50. Participating Habitat for Humanity ReStore sites increased from one to two.
“As a result of the program, 93.3 percent of Minnesota residents have a collection site within 15 miles of their residence,” Hickle said.
PaintCare, which is funded through paint manufacturers, is responsible for getting as many paint stores and counties to participate in the voluntary drop-off program.