US Congressman, Prominent CEO, and SacTown Agency Officials Acknowledge Historic Milestone for Unique Organization

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PaintCare, a nonprofit focused on recycling paint, crosses the 20 million gallons recycled benchmark in just 5 years and ahead of schedule. PaintCare works with corporations to recycle the paint they produce rather than relying on public taxes to pay for clean-up, an innovative approach that has exceeded expectations and earned the accolades of industry insiders.

When Congressman Jared Huffman began sponsoring a product stewardship law for architectural paint in California in May 2009, even he couldn’t envision the level of success that was to come in a few short years after the state’s paint stewardship program began in 2012.

“Congratulations to PaintCare on its five year anniversary and for recycling more than 10 million gallons of paint in California,” said Rep. Huffman the Second District Representative. “To go from no California product stewardship presence to 10,000,000 gallons in California alone in so short a period of time is an incredible achievement. When I authored this legislation in the California Assembly, my main goal was to make leftover paint recycling more convenient for Californians, reduce the burden of disposal on local governments, and to protect the environment. I’m glad to see that PaintCare has reached these goals with flying colors within just five years. It’s a testament to a lot of hard work on the part of many different people.”

What has legislators so excited about PaintCare and Product Stewardship though, is not just the success PaintCare has had in collecting a combined 20,000,000 gallons of paint for recycling in those states and jurisdictions with paint stewardship laws (with California accounting for a little more than half and the seven other states and the District of Columbia accounting for the remainder) Ken Pereira, Waste Management Specialist for Sacramento County, highlights the cost savings to municipalities:

“Sacramento County’s Department of Waste Management and Recycling (DWMR) is committed to excellent environmental stewardship. Historically, DWMR has spent approximately $150,000 annually in order to divert leftover or unwanted paint products from the landfill, and ensure that they are reused or recycled. Thanks to our successful relationship with the PaintCare organization, DWMR has reduced those annual costs to less than $8,000 per year. These cost savings directly impact our rate payers and also allow DWMR to expand and improve the county’s Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Program.”

PaintCare is the flagship organization under the growing header of Product Stewardship, an environmental strategy in which product manufacturers have the primary responsibility to establish, fund, and manage programs that minimize the environmental impact of products across the entire product life cycle, including end-of-life management. Government agencies help set performance goals for the programs and ensure accountability and transparency. This means that PaintCare is a unique non-profit operator, at once a partnership between private business and public agencies, and yet its own independent body. California Product Stewardship Council Executive Director Heidi Sanborn on PaintCare’s role in the evolution of the general public’s understanding of product stewardship.

“PaintCare has demonstrated that a producer designed and operated system can provide a much more convenient collection system than the government can because they have more locations where people normally go to shop. It’s called “take-back” because the retailers are taking back what they once sold making it convenient for their customers. We know if recycling is convenient and free at end of life and the public is informed how to use it and it has a sustainable funding source, the programs work very well. A great benefit of the paint stewardship program in California is that is has freed up millions of dollars of public money to be used on other hazardous waste collection.”

PaintCare Executive Director, Marjaneh Zarrehparvar, has earned a reputation over the past five years as being an effective mitigator in the sometimes-tricky relationship between private business and public sector waste and environmental agencies. Kelly Moore CEO, Steve DeVoe, on PaintCare’s leader:

“I have had the pleasure of working with Marjaneh now for a number of years both as a paint manufacturer and retailer, and I'll tell you, I think the secret to PaintCare’s success is a lot simpler than it might seem. All too often with product stewardship, it seems that businesses, governments and nonprofits can start out as adversaries. But Marjaneh and her PaintCare team have collaborated effectively with everyone and created a program that has processed 20,000,000 gallons of unwanted, leftover paint. I think we are on the right track to process millions of gallons more. PaintCare is a great model of product stewardship and shows what can be done.”

For more information on PaintCare, visit http://www.paintcare.org

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Adam Quinn
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