New Web Site Educates Consumers on Leftover Paint Reuse, Recycling

Earth 911, a Web portal for local environmental information, has joined with the National Paint and Coatings Association (NPCA) and the Product Stewardship Institute Inc. (PSI) to launch the Paint Wise consumer information portal (

The Paint Wise Web portal, announced on Nov. 2, provides community-based information and tools to assist consumers in the purchase, application, storage and end-of-life management of paint. Resources include zip code-specific donation, recycling and disposing options, proper paint storage and paint calculation tools.

"Education of consumers is at the core of any effort to cost-effectively manage post consumer paint," said Andrew Doyle, president, NPCA. "This is a great resource for consumers, and the interactive paint estimation tools, coupled with localized information about paint donations or recycling, will go a long way toward protecting the environment and reducing this environmental burden on the communities."

PSI estimated that out of 650 million gallons of paint sold each year in the United States, between 16 and 35 million gallons become "surplus" paint. At the cost of approximately $8 per gallon, managing the leftover paint through recycling or disposal could cost the government and taxpayers up to $280 million dollars (Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA) Government Affairs News, April 2004).

"Given the tremendous ecological and physical costs of managing leftover paint, it was critical that the industry join together to increase reuse and recycling, and to ensure proper end-of-life management of paint," said Anne Reichman, director of Earth 911. "With the Paint Wise portal, we have delivered a centralized, online resource that will educate and empower every consumer to minimize the environmental impact of surplus paint."

Reducing the amount of leftover paint generated by the public is one of the primary objectives of a nationwide collaboration of government, the paint industry and recycling community known as the Paint Product Stewardship Initiative, facilitated by PSI. For two years, this group of federal, state and local agencies, paint manufacturers, paint retailers, recyclers and others, such as Earth 911 and NPCA, has been working toward a nationwide strategy to better manage leftover paint.

"This national initiative will educate consumers on how to reduce paint waste, and will provide more opportunities for them to reuse and recycle their leftover paint," said Scott Cassel, PSI executive director. "Paint Wise is a 24-hour resource that consumers can continually turn to for updated information on how best to manage leftover paint in their local area."

This article originally appeared in the 11/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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