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Oregonians now recycling more than half their old paint

State system is template for rest of country

It's been one year since Oregon launched the nation's first paint recycling program, run by the nonprofit group PaintCare, and PaintCare just reported it has collected 284,086 gallons of paint so far.

The program is funded by a surcharge on paint, in cooperation with the state of Oregon and paint manufacturers.

Of the latex paint collected so far, 52 percent went into recycled-content paint; 38 percent went for biomass or biodegradation; 6 percent went into cement production and 4 percent went to reuse or exchange.

Of the alkyd paint, 95 percent went to fuel blending and 5 percent went to reuse and exchange.

PaintCare set up 90 collection sites around the state, including 65 retail establishments, 16 local-government sites and nine others, including Habitat for Humanity stories.

'Over 60 percent of paint is currently being recycled, but we think we can do better than that,' says Alison Keane, executive director of PaintCare.

Oregon's program is serving as a template for other states.

A similar program will be rolled out in California a year from now, followed by Connecticut. The program hopes to pass legislation in Washington as well.

For more information: www.paintcare.org.