Paint Recycling

Image of paint can with green paint and stirring stick The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that about 10% of all paint purchased in the United States becomes leftover – around 64 million gallons annually. Leftover and unusable paint wastes natural resources, causes pollution when disposed of improperly and costs municipalities thousands of dollars in trash disposal fees. Connecticut (CT) is a progressive state in that we have a paint stewardship law, Section 22a-904 of the CT General Statutes , that provides for the collection and post-consumer recycling and disposal of unwanted paint and containers. See the PaintCare Plan for Recovery of Unwanted Paint in Connecticut. Connecticut has collected over 1 million gallons of used paint through Connecticut's implementation of the Paint Care Program. Refer to Paint Care's annual reports for more detailed information. Financial Statements and Independent Auditor's Reports are posted there in accordance with Section 22a-905g of the CT General Statutes.


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Connecticut's Paint Stewardship Law

Paint Disposal Options for Consumers

Paint Purchasing Tips for Consumers

Information for Retailers

Information for Municipalities

Information for Manufacturers


Connecticut's Paint Stewardship Law

What is Product Stewardship? 
Product stewardship is a principle that directs all participants involved in the life cycle of a product to take shared responsibility for the impacts to human health and the natural environment that result from its production, use and end-of-life management. Learn more about product stewardship.

Beginning in 2003, Connecticut participated in a nationwide dialogue with paint manufacturers, recyclers, state and local governments, and other stakeholders to address the problem of how to dispose of unwanted paint. The Product Stewardship Institute facilitated the discussion. As a result of that dialogue, Connecticut signed a memorandum of understanding with the paint industry which led to the introduction of legislation in 2010. The legislation became law in 2011. Under the law, paint manufacturers will assume the costs of managing unwanted latex and oil-based paints. The program will be funded by a fee paid by the consumer when they purchase paint.  Learn more about Connecticut's  An Act Establishing a Paint Stewardship Program.

The American Coatings Association (ACA) worked with state and local government stakeholders to pass the first paint product stewardship law in the United States in Oregon. Connecticut was the third state in the country to pass paint legislation, following Oregon and California.  ACA established a non-profit corporation, PaintCare, to administer the paint stewardship laws in the states. The plan for implementing the paint stewardship law in Connecticut was approved May 1, 2013. Read more in the report: Financial Impact of Implementing a Paint Product Stewardship Initiative In Connecticut.

Paint Disposal Options For Consumers

On July 1, 2013, PaintCare, a non-profit association of paint and coating manufacturers, rolled out a program in Connecticut designed to collect and recycle unwanted paint and coatings. The program is a direct result of the Paint Stewardship Law passed in 2011 and has resulted in a network of convenient drop-off locations for unwanted oil and latex paint. There are over 140 retail drop-off locations in the state.

Residents can continue to bring oil based paint to their town’s household hazardous waste (HHW) collections. Some of these HHW collections have added latex paint to the list of acceptable items. Check with your HHW program  to see if they will accept latex paint. Some municipal transfer stations have partnered with PaintCare to serve as collection points. Contact your local recycling coordinator to see if your town accepts paint.

Find a paint drop-off location near you.

Learn how to prepare and dispose of all types of paints properly.

View a humorous video informing CT residents how they can recycle unwanted leftover paint for free.

Purchasing Tips for Consumers

Information for Retailers

Retailers play an important role in the implementation of the paint stewardship program.  Retailers that sell paint assess a fee at the point of sale which will be remitted to the paint manufacturers to cover the cost of operating the program. In order to sell paint in Connecticut, the fee will need to be added to the purchase price. Retailers are responsible for ensuring that all manufacturers of all the paint products covered under the law are currently registered with PaintCare.

In addition, retailers may choose to serve as a drop-off site for unwanted paint. By offering this service, retailers may invite additional foot traffic into their store while providing a valuable service to their customers. A General Permit registration is required to engage in the collection of paint, however PaintCare will walk through the process with you, submit the application on your behalf, and pay the permit fee.

Information for Municipalities

Municipalities have historically managed unwanted residential paint either through household hazardous waste collections (oil-based) or through the solid waste (latex). Under the stewardship program managed by PaintCare, municipalities may elect to accept paint at their transfer station under the municipal transfer station general permit. PaintCare will provide the necessary container and pick up the container when it is full.

Municipalities may also elect to accept latex paint at their local household hazardous waste collection. The paint at these collections will be set aside and managed by the vendor selected by PaintCare.  The latex paint will be recycled if at all possible . The oil based paint will be used for fuel blending.

Information for Manufacturers

If you manufacture paint that is sold in Connecticut, you must register your name and brands with PaintCare.  The Paint Stewardship Law requires manufacturers to register their brands and pay a fee to PaintCare.  Manufacturers are reimbursed by charging the distributor or retailer. Please visit the PaintCare website for more information.


Content last updated November 2023