New Program Encourages Cape Residents to Recycle Latex Paint

Aug 3, 2018

Credit Hunterdon County, NJ Solid Waste and Recycling Services

When it comes to recycling, people often think of the big three: paper, plastic and metal. But there's another, and Cape officials want residents to start thinking of it, too: latex paint.

WCAI's Kathryn Eident talked with Phil Goddard, from the Town of Bourne Integrated Solid Waste Management Department, about a new Cape-wide grant aimed at saving unwanted latex paint from the landfill, and a paint take-back day, Saturday, August 4, 2018 in Dennis.

Eident: Why collect latex paint separately from trash if it's not hazardous?

Goddard: The main reason is, it's still useful material, and to throw that out is a waste. Which then would mean, when you need paint you'd go buy more paint, which requires resources and energy to produce transport, and bring to you locally.

So, it's just a larger perspective on sustainability--that we want to use up what we have first and not dispose of something that's perfectly reusable. It is not hazardous, but there are other non-hazardous things that we don't want thrown away.

Eident: Tell us a little bit more about how you recycle paint.

Goddard: We're working with a vendor called "Recolor" out of Hanover, Mass., and what they do is, they take prescreened, carefully selected latex paint that the crews at the paint sheds on the Cape to have the trained to look for. They take that, and then they have a process internally, where they make new paint, and that includes chalk paint, believe it or not. They have a variety colors, and then they repackage it, and then they sell it at home centers and reuse centers.

And, so now they have a steady supply, or an increased supply at least, since the program started, with good quality reusable latex paints. They actually make it into new paint, and they're working, I believe, with the state of Massachusetts to try to have the state buy some of this paint on state contract for towns.

Eident: The Town of Bourne took this initiative to get a grant to help get a more robust recycling program going. Talk about the grant and what it's going to do.

Goddard: Well, the town Bourne is the manager of the grant however, this was a Cape-wide effort by all 15 towns. We met collectively about a year ago with the Municipal Assistance coordinator from the state of Massachusetts, and we talked collectively also with the county, who runs the household hazardous waste collection programs where people bring hazardous waste. A lot of latex paint was coming to those events that didn't need to come to those events.

So, we put our heads together, and we realized that we need to have support for the paint sheds, but we wanted to divert to special collections like the one on Saturday. The Town of Bourne volunteered to be the applicant on behalf of all 15 towns on the Cape, and in the town of Dennis, along with Bourne, volunteered to be regional depots where those with paint sheds who collect and put the paint in large boxes could then bring it to a depot--one in Dennis, and one in Bourne, and where we collect larger quantities for shipment to ship to Hanover so "Recolour" would recycle the paint.

Eident: So, for a resident who are thinking, "Hmm, I've got some old latex paint kicking around my garage or my basement," what do they need to know about the take- back day that's happening on Saturday?

Goddard: Well first thing they need to know, is please do not bring household hazardous waste. It's only latex paint. It's not marine paint. It's not oil-based paint. The way to tell if --acrylic is latex. If it's alkyd with a 'D' --'D' is do not bring. So, we want good quality paint; that is, paint that hasn't sat out in an area exposed to the weather or paint that's really very old and has contaminants in there, like dirt and rust and things, we don't want any of that.

So, good quality latex paint that is in good shape-- it's still liquid--and we're happy to take it. It'll be recycled into new paint.

Eident: Phil, thanks so much for talking with us about this upcoming event. And best of luck.

Goddard: Fantastic thank you so much.

*This transcript was lightly edited for grammar and clarity.

Learn more about the Cape's latex paint recycling program:
The next take-back day is Saturday, August 4 at the Tony Kent Arena in Dennis, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.