Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin has signed a bill that will require paint manufacturers to fund and operate a post-consumer paint take-back program in Vermont. This law ensures the end-of-life management of leftover architectural paint throughout the states, while shifting the managerial and financial burden away from the state and local governments.
"Dealing with post-consumer paint has been a high priority for solid waste districts and alliances, but it has come at a significant cost," says Jen Holliday, environmental safety compliance manager of the Chittenden (Vermont) Solid Waste District. "This law ensures that we can keep household paints out of our landfills and out of people's storage closets, and do so with funding provided by manufacturers--not taxpayers."
According to the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI), Boston, the passage of the bill makes Vermont the sixth state to implement an extended producer responsibility (EPR) law for paint based on a model program facilitated in 2007 by the PSI.
Vermont’s law is consistent with legislation passed in Oregon (2009), California (2010), Connecticut (2011), Rhode Island (2012), and, most recently, Minnesota (2013). Paint stewardship programs are currently operating in Oregon and California, with Connecticut. Rhode Island, and Minnesota to follow over the next year. PaintCare Inc. - a nonprofit organization established by the American Coatings Association (ACA) - will fund and oversee the program’s implementation, as it has done and will do for the other states.
"Thanks to PSI's ability to engage both government and industry stakeholders and incorporate all interests into a solution, the state model that we developed for Oregon in 2010 is being replicated across the country," says Alison Keane, vice president of the ACA. "Paint manufacturers are ready to take over the management of leftover paint in Vermont to help meet the public's need for efficiency and cost effectiveness.
"Vermont's take-back program will be funded through a per-container fee that manufacturers will pay to PaintCare. Manufacturers pass the fee onto retailers, who then pass it on to consumers at the point of sale. The paint recovery fees fund the take-back program, including collection, transportation, recycling, public outreach and administration. All architectural paint manufacturers that sell their products in Vermont are required to register with the PaintCare program.
"This law would not have been possible without the steadfast leadership of the paint industry and the perseverance of other stakeholders," says Scott Cassel, PSI's CEO. "Every decision was made through a painstaking consensus, and it will pay off in the form of millions of dollars of savings each year for Vermont local governments, increased environmental benefits, and new green jobs."