NJ considers paint fee to fuel recycling efforts

 The New Jersey Chemistry Council estimates a fee of about 75 cents a can would fund a program allowing residents and contractors to take unused paint to designated sites for recycling.(Phil Gregory/WHYY)

The New Jersey Chemistry Council estimates a fee of about 75 cents a can would fund a program allowing residents and contractors to take unused paint to designated sites for recycling.(Phil Gregory/WHYY)

New Jersey is considering enlisting every producer of paint sold in the Garden State in a paint stewardship program.

A bill under consideration in the legislature would require retailers to pay a fee to the manufacturer for each can of paint. 

Ed Waters with the New Jersey Chemistry Council said a fee of about 75 cents a can would fund a program allowing residents and contractors to take unused paint to designated sites for recycling.

“Right now there is no recycling in New Jersey,” Waters said. “It’s actually collected and either put into a landfill or it’s sent to an incinerator.”

New Jersey Retail Merchants Association president John Holub said retailers won’t be able to recover the fee until they sell the paint.

“It’s really more concerning if unfortunately we don’t sell a can that assessment is out the window and we don’t recoup our money from that,” he said.

Supporters said recycling the paint will help prevent environmental harm.

Marjaneh Zarrehparvar is executive director of Paint Care, a nonprofit that’s helped get similar programs under way in six other states.

“We’re creating tremendous convenience, especially for contractors that before either didn’t have any options or had to pay a hazardous waste hauler to come out to their business,” she said. “It’s very expensive for them.”

Zarrehparvar said drop-offs will be free. “In fact, we also do a large volume pickup for contractors that have been accumulating their paint for years and years and years.”

The New Jersey Chemistry Council estimates about 4 million gallons of paint in the state could be recycled instead of going into landfills or being incinerated.

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