PaintCare Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization established to represent paint manufacturers (paint producers) to plan and operate paint stewardship programs in the United States in those states that pass paint stewardship laws.  The PaintCare program is operated independantly from solid waste planning entities.

Where can I take my leftover paint?

In PaintCare States, there is probably a drop-off site near you. Use our Site Locator to find sites in your area. In other states, our locator will list your nearest local household hazardous waste program.


What are the fees?

PaintCare Fees are applied to the purchase price of paint in every PaintCare State. Currently, the fees are the same in all states and they are based on the size of the container as follows:
$0.00 Half pint or smaller
$0.49 Larger than half pint to smaller than 1 gallon
$0.99 1 gallon
$1.99 Larger than 1 gallon up to 5 gallons


How are fees calculated ?

Fees are set to cover the cost of a fully operating program on a state-by-state basis. First, PaintCare estimates the total expenses to run the program in each state. Next, we estimate the annual paint sales in each state for each size container. Next we divide the estimated total expenses of the program by the number of containers to be sold in the state ─ taking into account each size container. Since PaintCare is a non-profit organization, the fees may be decreased in the future if they were set at a level higher than what is needed to cover expenses, or fees may be increased if they were set too low and do not cover expenses.


Does it cost me to take back paint?

No, there is no charge for dropping off your paint.


Do I get my fee back? Is it a deposit?

No, the fee is not a deposit. Fees are used entirely to cover the expenses of running the program and not given back as a deposit for the return of paint or empty paint cans.


Do all retailers take back paint?

No. Retailers who are serving as PaintCare drop-off sites are volunteers. Not all stores have enough storage space or staff to be drop-off sites. Typically, about twenty percent of paint retailers in any state participate. If you know of a store near you that would like to be a PaintCare drop-off site, ask the manager to contact PaintCare. We’re always interested in adding more drop-off sites.


What happens to the paint?

The paint you drop off is packed into larger containers (boxes or drums) by the staff at the drop-off sites. One of PaintCare’s hauling companies picks up the paint and takes it to their facility for sorting by type. PaintCare manages the paint according to a policy of “highest, best use.” Our goal is to recycle as much as possible. If the paint is not recyclable into new paint, we find the next best use for it.

Latex paint and other water-based products are separated from oil-based paint and other solvent-based products. Most of the oil-based paint is then taken to a cement plant where it is blended into a fuel and burned to recover the energy value. Most of the better latex paint (paint that is not rusty, molding or spoiled) is sent to recycling companies and reprocessed into new paint in standard pre-tinted colors. Some latex paint is used to make other products or used for biodegradation projects at landfills. Very little paint is sent to a landfill (about 1-4%).

Overall about 1-2% of the paint we receive is simply reused. Some paint is nearly new and in excellent condition and is given away “as is” at some household hazardous waste programs that partner with PaintCare and have reuse programs or “swap shops.” Non-profit ReStores (such as those operated by Habitat for Humanity) that serve as PaintCare drop-off sites also screen out some of the usable paint and sell it in their store.