Oregon’s pioneering paint recycling program is now on permanent footing, after a newly passed bill passed by Legislature removed a sunset that would have ended the PaintCare effort next year.

House Bill 2048 also expanded PaintCare collection sites to ensure that 95 percent of Oregonians live within 15 miles of a depot, so they can more easily drop off their unwanted paints. PaintCare will add about 30 sites by next year, making about 130 available throughout the state.

To create the paint stewardship campaign, the paint industry voluntarily supported a surcharge on paint sold in Oregon, which pays for the recycling program.

Oregon’s program served as a model, and the stewardship program has now expanded to California, Connecticut, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Vermont.

HB 2048 quadrupled the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s budget to oversee PaintCare, from the current $10,000 a year up to $40,000 a year. The bill also expanded the paint industry program’s requirements for public awareness and reports on its recycling efforts. DEQ gained authority to fine retailers, paint producers and stewardship organizations that don’t meet program requirements.

In 2011, 7.5 million pounds of paint and paint containers were collected under PaintCare, a 50 percent increase from 2009, before the program started. The program has cut the amount of paint brought to hazardous waste disposal sites.

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