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Massachusetts Advocates Urge for Household Paint Recycling Program


Massachusetts environmental advocates are calling on the state to join the growing number of states that offer household paint recycling programs, arguing that it is an urgent waste reduction measure.

The Problem of Paint Waste

Paint is one of the most commonly discarded household hazardous waste items. In Massachusetts, an estimated 200,000 gallons of paint are improperly disposed of each year. Improper disposal of paint poses environmental and health risks. Paint contains harmful chemicals that can contaminate soil, water, and air.

Benefits of Recycling Paint

Recycling paint offers numerous environmental benefits. It reduces the amount of paint entering landfills, conserving precious landfill space. Paint recycling also conserves natural resources, as recycled paint can be used to make new paint, reducing the need for raw materials. Additionally, paint recycling helps to reduce air and water pollution associated with paint manufacturing.

How Paint Recycling Works

Paint recycling programs typically involve collecting paint from households and businesses. The collected paint is then processed at a recycling facility, where it is separated into its components. The liquid paint is recovered and blended with other recycled paint to create new paint. The solids, such as paint chips and pigment, are recycled into other products, such as roofing shingles and flooring.

Successful Paint Recycling Programs in Other States

Several states already have successful household paint recycling programs, including California, Connecticut, Washington, and Oregon. These programs have proven effective in reducing paint waste and diverting it from landfills.

Advocates' Call for Action

Environmental advocates in Massachusetts are urging the state to follow the lead of these other states and establish a household paint recycling program. They argue that such a program would provide residents with a convenient and responsible way to dispose of their unwanted paint, while also benefiting the environment.

Legislative Proposal

In January 2023, Representative Lori Ehrlich and Senator Jason Lewis introduced legislation (H.4205/S.1260) that would establish a statewide paint stewardship program in Massachusetts. The program would require paint manufacturers and retailers to collect and recycle paint from households and businesses.

Support for the Bill

The bill has gained support from environmental organizations, waste management companies, and residents throughout the state. The Massachusetts Sierra Club, Clean Water Fund, and Toxics Action Center are among the groups that have endorsed the legislation.

Next Steps

The bill is currently being considered by the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. If passed, it would require the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MADEP) to develop and implement the paint stewardship program.


The time for Massachusetts to join the growing number of states with household paint recycling programs is now. Such a program would significantly reduce paint waste, conserve resources, and protect the environment. The legislation introduced by Representative Ehrlich and Senator Lewis provides a roadmap for the state to implement a successful and comprehensive paint recycling program. It is incumbent upon the state legislature to prioritize this important environmental measure and ensure that Massachusetts does its part to address the problem of paint waste.

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