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PaintCare: The Eco-Friendly Option for Recycling Unwanted Leftover Paint

Painting Green


Paint Recycling with Dunn Edwards

Do you have unwanted leftover paint collecting dust in your garage? Want to make the environmentally-friendly choice of giving old paint new life by recycling? Then donate your quart and gallon cans or 5-gallon buckets of architectural coatings to a PaintCare drop-off location near you to have your paint recycled. Every Dunn-Edwards store in California is a PaintCare Collection Center.

Carrying Paints

Seeing the need to find a better way to manage unwanted leftover paint, Dunn-Edwards participated in a National Paint Dialogue organized by the Product Stewardship Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Other participants included U.S. EPA, 33 state and local waste management agencies, the American Coatings Association, and various paint manufacturers, retailers, and painting contractors. The result was a nationally coordinated program – called PaintCare -- for collecting and recycling or responsibly disposing of unwanted leftover paint.

PaintCare is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that encourages households and businesses to take their unwanted leftover paint to PaintCare drop-off sites located in states where the program is established by law. Currently, those states are: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Washington DC – with more states being added all the time. After the paint is dropped off at a PaintCare center, the paint is reused, recycled, processed for alternative uses, or responsibly disposed of, and emptied paint containers are separated by material type for recycling. Since 2009, PaintCare has collected over 50 million gallons of unwanted leftover paint!

States Map

To fund the program, paint retailers must include a PaintCare fee in the purchase price of paints sold in the states where PaintCare operates. The fee is based on container size and applies only to “program products” that are accepted for recycling by PaintCare. (Some paints and paint-related products are not accepted, such as: aerosol cans; paint thinners; industrial maintenance coatings; art and craft paints; and similar specialty products.) A PaintCare drop-off facility can accept only paints that are in sealed original containers bearing the manufacturer’s label in legible condition, and of no more than 5-gallons in capacity. Open or leaking cans, empty containers, and containers with dried paint are not accepted. Fortunately, containers that are empty or with dried paint may be put in a household recycling bin or disposed of with ordinary trash. Check with your local waste management agency for guidance.

Considering the large scale of the architectural coatings industry, PaintCare allows consumers and businesses to recycle unwanted leftover paint in a convenient and efficient way, conserving a substantial amount of resources. New construction and building maintenance industries utilize both virgin and recycled materials. PaintCare provides a means for Dunn-Edwards and its customers to embrace the concept of eco-efficiency and make the most of what we have.

For more information on PaintCare and where to drop off unwanted leftover paint at a location near you, visit