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Paint is a recyclable item. Latex paint is collected at collection facilities in many counties and shipped to paint-recycling facilities.
There are many ways that paint can be recycled. Most often, the highest quality of latex paint is sorted out and turned back into recycled paint that can be used. Recycled paint is environmentally preferable to new paint, while still maintaining comparable quality. In many cases, reusable paints of the same color are pumped into a tank where the material is mixed and tested. The paint is adjusted with additives and colorants as necessary. Finally, the paint is fine filtered and packaged for sale.
Paint that cannot be reused has other environmentally friendly uses. Non-reusable paint can be made into a product used in cement manufacturing, thereby recycling virtually 100% of the original paint.
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|The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2010)|
Alberta’s paint recycling program started accepting left over, unwanted paint on April 1, 2008. It is estimated that about 30 million liters of paint is sold in Alberta each year. On average, 5 to 10 percent of this ends up as waste, which can pose environmental and health risks if disposed of improperly. Paint contains many components that have great potential for reuse, recycling and recovery. The Paint Recycling Alberta program enables these products to be handled and recycled in an environmentally safe manner, reducing their impact on the environment. The program is funded through environmental fees charged on the sale of new paint in Alberta. The fees are put into a dedicated fund that can only be used to manage the paint recycling program.
The paint is sorted into different streams and sent to registered processors to be recycled into new paint, used in other products or in energy recovery, or sent for proper disposal if necessary. Any processor that receives paint must be registered with the Paint Recycling Program and meet all applicable environmental, transportation, health & safety, and local requirements.
Calibre Environmental LTD. (CEL) located in Calgary, AB, became a key part in 2008 of the new Alberta Paint Stewardship program which significantly increased the recycling of unused latex paint from across the province of Alberta. Calibre Environmental Ltd. currently processes about 1.6 million kilograms of latex paint annually, which equates to the successful recycling of one million litres of quality latex paint per year.
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In the UK reusable leftover paint can be donated to Community RePaint, a national network of paint reuse schemes. The network comprises local schemes run by not-for-profit organisations, local authorities or waste management companies, in the Community RePaint network. The schemes collect surplus paint from trade sources i.e. painters, decorators, retailers, manufacturers, and/or leftover paint donated by householders at council household waste and recycling centres (also known as tips). The paint is then sorted by staff and volunteers before being redistributed to local charities, community groups, families and individuals in need. The Community RePaint network, is sponsored by Dulux (part of AkzoNobel), managed by an environmental consultancy, Resource Futures and has been cited as an example of best practice for the management of surplus paint in a report by the European Commission and by DEFRA in Guidance on Applying the Waste Hierarchy.
There are also a handful of companies recycling paint in the UK, but only two reprocessing waste paint, back into the quality of virgin paint; Newlife Paints. Newlife Paints was formed in 2008 after Keith Harrison, an industrial chemist, developed a process that converted waste emulsion paint back into full quality, commercial grade paint. Castle RePaint, part of the social enterprise company Castle Furniture also consolidates unwanted emulsion paint into brand new 'RePaint' in a range of colours.
Paint is shipped to companies such as Amazon Environmental, Metro Paint (Oregon), UCI Environmental (Nevada) and Kelly Moore, Visions Paint Recycling, Inc (California)& Williams Paint Recycling Company. In the Southern California area, Acrylatex Coatings & Recycling, Inc. accepts unused/unwanted latex paints for reprocessing into a viable resource of recycled paints in 20-standard colors. In the southeastern United States Atlanta Paint Disposal has a paint recycling program with drop off locations in Atlanta, Georgia.
A new charitable organization known as The Global Paint for Charity incorporated in Georgia, U.S.A. with mission is to collect leftover paint from residents and businesses nationwide and use it for global housing rehabilitation projects including homes, schools, hospitals, jails and churches for vulnerable families in developing countries. They partner with non-profit organizations with existing operations in these continents for paint distribution. Through the support of their donors and partners they are able to improve communities, increase access to quality paints and protect the environment.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that every homeowner in the U.S. has 3 to 4 gallons of leftover paints in their basement and 10 percent of those paints ends up in landfills. One gallon of improperly disposed paint has the ability to pollute up to 250,000 gallons of water. By participating in the program, individuals and businesses will take greater steps to protect the environment, and improve living conditions for vulnerable populations throughout the world. If you would like to support the Global Paint for Charity, they encourage you to take action today.
Improve access of high quality paints to vulnerable populations around the world. Nearly 2.5 billion people in developing countries live on less than $2 a day. For them, paint is very expensive. In these settings, it is very difficult for families to secure sufficient income for their basic needs (including but not limited to: food, medicine, water, clothes, school supplies, and shelter). When making consumption choices that involve spending on their basic needs there is nothing left to spend on paint.
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