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Paint recycling program to start in 2021

Stacks of used paint cans

Recycling unwanted paint will soon get easier for residents and businesses in King County. This is thanks to a new law that creates an industry funded and run paint program that will be implemented in 2021 across Washington State. 

The Paint Stewardship Program is anticipated to become operational in March 2021. Once it launches, drop-off locations throughout the state will accept unwanted paints and stains, both oil and water-based, from households and businesses. Paint will be accepted at participating paint retailer sites and solid waste facilities including transfer stations, recycling centers, and landfills, as well as household hazardous waste (HHW) facilities, across Washington State. A small fee on the purchase price of paint will fund the program. 

This program will conserve resources and increase the amount of paint that is recycled. Many Washington residents do not currently have paint recycling options and are instructed to let water-based paint dry out and then dispose of the dry paint in the trash, wasting a valuable resource. This program will recycle paint to the maximum extent possible. Safe disposal of paint products also protects human health, fish, wildlife, and our region’s groundwater.  

There is a significant local need for this service. An estimated 10 percent of all house paint purchased goes unused. In Washington State, that amounts to 1.5 to 2 million gallons of unwanted paint every year. In 2018, Hazardous Waste Management Program collected 384,362 pounds of oil-based paints and stains at its facilities.  

We will provide updates in the coming months as more details take shape. Stay tuned! 

Do you have questions about disposing paint in the meantime? Visit our look up tool to learn what to do with water-based (latex) paint or oil-based paint. Or, you can call 206-296-4692 Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.



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