WILTON — Beginning Oct. 1, the Wilton Transfer Station will accept unwanted paint at no charge, according to Town Manager Rhonda Irish.
Through recently-passed legislation sponsored by Sen. Thomas Saviello, R-Wilton, an architectural paint stewardship program administered by PaintCare Inc. is recruiting and training paint businesses and transfer stations to accept paint.
PaintCare Inc. is a nonprofit organization developed by paint manufacturers and its program has been adopted by about a dozen states so far, said John Hurd, PaintCare manager for Vermont and Maine.
About 25 transfer stations, including those in Wilton and Rumford, and 75 businesses have joined the program, he said. More have expressed interest. All Aubuchon Hardware and Sherwin-Williams stores across the state are on board, he said.
The program will not cost the town or business anything other than storage room and staff labor, Irish said.
While it’s free to return latex and oil-based paints and stains, paint-buyers will be charged an additional 75 cents a gallon when they purchase paint. The money will help sustain the program, Hurd said.
PaintCare picks up the paint. Latex paints are taken to Ohio and recycled as paint. Oil-based paints cannot be recycled and are usually burned for fuel, Hurd said.
Previously, Wilton residents could take oil-based paint to a collection site during the annual Hazardous Waste Collection Day, Irish said. There is one planned from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Wilton Transfer Station.
Latex paint was not accepted. People were advised to dry up latex paint with kitty litter before disposing of the can, Saviello said.
But, oil-based paint is considered hazardous waste and once the town collects it, the town pays $25 for five gallons to dispose of it, Saviello said. Taxpayers are the ones who absorb that cost for the town so this can save them money even though they pay an extra 75 cents to buy a gallon, he added.
About 10 years ago, the paint-recycling program started to develop in Oregon, which started a stewardship program in 2010. Since then, several states have adopted the program, which replicates parts of a similar program in Canada, Hurd said.
A few years ago, the Maine Legislature considered a stewardship program aimed at making the manufacturer responsible for its product, “from cradle to when its buried,” Saviello said.
Similar recycling programs for mercury switches, computers and lead-acid batteries are now in place, he said.
“Once manufacturers realized we were working on something, we were asked to give their program a chance to develop,” he said. At the time, only two states had adopted PaintCare.
Saviello brought the bill back to his committee but it was delayed this summer because it was one of the 65 not signed by the governor, he said. These have since been considered laws. An August start date was moved to Oct. 1.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection approved the PaintCare Program in August.
PaintCare is chipping in funds to help cover the initial costs when people bring in those old cans stored in basements, Saviello said.
After the anticipated busy start, the 75-cent fee is expected to cover collection and transportation costs. There are limits on the amounts brought in at one time and no aerosol cans are accepted, Hurd said.
More information is available on the PaintCare website at www.paintcare.org