Paint Recycling 101: Metro program has statewide impacts
Since Oregon’s Paint Stewardship program began in 2009, Oregonians now have close to 100 sites around the state to recycle unwanted paint products
Back in the old days after a painting project, people poured leftover paint or paint thinner down the street drain. Hard to imagine. Now we know better about the damage this causes to waterways and wildlife. And, with 99 places in Oregon to recycle paint, it’s convenient to hand off unwanted products responsibly. But the huge variety of paint and coating products can confuse even avid recyclers. Here’s a quick primer on what can be recycled, where and when.
Paint products you can recycle at one of Oregon’s 99 paint collection sites
Oregonians can bring many, but not all, types of paint and coating products to paint collection sites. These sites include certain paint retailers, home improvement stores, recycled building material stores and, of course, municipal hazardous waste collection facilities.
Jim Stephens, owner of Powell Paint Center at 5205 SE Powell Blvd. in Portland, said customers use his store to recycle paint at the rate of filling four 100-gallon recycling totes per week. His store accepts paint from contractors too. Not all paint cans, even with approved products, are okay.
"We tell customers we can’t take cans that are leaking or rusted out; a can must have a label or lid on it and it must have wet paint inside," Stephens said. That’s true for all locations, plus paint must be in its original container with the original label.
Many retail paint collection sites note that having a collection bin in their store is both good for business and a community service. "It’s a bit of a hassle; but people expect it. (Recycling paint at the store) is better for the environment and easier for homeowners," Stephens said.
Dan Rausch, owner of Suburban Ace Hardware in Aloha, seconded that: "Paint collection is going well; it’s a nice convenience for our customers and an easy way to draw people in."
Not all paint retailers are paint collection sites. Miller Paint-Beaverton is a paint collection site, but many other Miller Paint stores are not. Kris Schroedel, manager of the Beaverton store, explained, "I have one of the larger stores and a large lot so it worked for us to be a collection site. It’s been a smooth process. The bins are outside; customers come in with paint and we inspect it as it goes in the bins." His store fills its five bins (100 gallons each) once per week.
Dave Gannt, manager of Rodda Paint-Eastside at 321 SE Taylor St. in Portland, said, "Paint collecting is going just fine; the biggest challenge is to ensure proper items are bring dropped off. We have employees who monitor our paint totes in the back of the store, so we see what customers are bringing in."
These products are accepted at all paint collection sites:
- paint: latex, acrylic, water-based, alkyd, oil-based and enamel in all finishes and sheens, including textured paint
- deck coatings and floor paints (including elastomeric)
- waterproofing concrete/masonry/wood sealers and repellents (but not-tar-based or bitumen-based)
- melamine, metal and rust preventative primers, under-coaters and sealers
- stains and shellacs
- swimming pool paints (single component)
- varnishes and urethanes (single component)
- lacquers, lacquer sanding sealers, and lacquer stains
- wood coatings that contain no pesticides.
Paint products not taken at retailers, but okay for Metro Household Hazardous Waste facilities
These products can’t be taken to a retail paint collection site, but in the Portland area you can drop them off at Metro Central Station (6161 NW 61st Ave. in Portland) or Metro South Station (2001 S. Washington St. in Oregon City).
- craft paints
- aerosol paints
- paint thinners, mineral spirits or solvents
- deck cleaners
- automotive, marine or traffic paints
- caulking compounds, epoxies, glues or adhesives
- colorants and tints
- paint additives
- pesticide-containing products
- roof patch or repair
- tar-based or bitumen based products
- two-component coatings
- industrial maintenance coatings.