CIWMB Supports Paint Reduction, Reuse Project

San Joaquin County is developing a statewide paint stewardship program aimed at reducing the 8-million gallons of leftover paint Californian's generate annually.

Through a generous $400,000 grant from the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB), the California Paint Stewardship Program will teach consumers how to buy the right amount of paint, properly store leftovers, and provide reuse and recycling options. 

For paint that cannot be reduced or reused, the project goal is to increase collection of unused paint for recycling and stimulate the recycled paint market.

Studies show that many consumers purchase too much paint, leading to large volumes of leftover paint. California local governments spend approximately $16 million annually to collect unused paint through Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) programs. Taxpayers and garbage rate payers spend about $8 per gallon to operate these programs.  Because of the high cost, the CIWMB is interested in finding long-term solutions that will reduce system costs by addressing source reduction first, then reuse and recycling.

"Educating retailers and consumers on how to buy the right amount of paint and donate or use-up what is left will cost far less than the taxpayer- and ratepayer-funded collection systems currently in place," said Heidi Sanborn, executive director of the California Product Stewardship Council (CPSC), the primary contractor for the project.

CPSC is leading California's waste management reform by providing outreach and education about Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), also known as Product Stewardship. EPR is a policy approach to place the primary responsibility for end-of-life product management on producers while recognizing that all entities involved in the product chain share responsibility. 

San Joaquin County will collaborate with Tehama and San Francisco counties to implement the project, which will build on progress from the National Paint Product Stewardship Initiative. Partners include Visions Paint Recycling, the National Paint and Coatings Association, and other experts.

For more information, contact San Joaquin County's HHW Program Coordinator Kimbra Andrews: 209.468.3066 or CPSC Executive Director Heidi Sanborn:  916.480.9010. Project information will be posted on CPSC's Web site,