The New York State Senate today passed legislation that would help efforts to continue reducing the amount of household hazardous waste in communities, while also helping to cut costs to local governments. The bill (S4926C), sponsored by Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C-I, Big Flats), would establish an industry-sponsored Paint Stewardship Program to reduce the costly burden faced by local governments when collecting and disposing of post-consumer paint.
Senator O’Mara, Chairman of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said, “This legislation exemplifies how much we can accomplish by working together with industry on important environmental concerns. Seeking common ground and cooperation, rather than government cramming unreasonable demands down the throat of industry, can help give New York State a more business friendly environment and actually result in better, more workable laws. Working together will go a long way in reaching an end result on other important issues that would benefit our state fiscally, economically, and environmentally.”
The national Product Stewardship Institute estimates that approximately 3.1 million gallons of paint go unused each year in New York State -- with the costs of collecting and managing the paint’s disposal mostly falling on local governments.
This measure would make paint manufacturers responsible for managing the recycling and disposal of unused paint, saving local governments approximately $25 million annually. It directs the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to create a plan for paint manufacturers and sellers to cover the costs of a statewide, not-for-profit Paint Stewardship Program. The program would minimize the involvement of local governments in the management of post-consumer paint by reducing its generation. Agreements would be established to collect, transport, reuse, recycle, and/or burn post-consumer paint at appropriately licensed collection sites and facilities using environmentally sound management practices. The plan would also include details on annual program audits and reports, education and outreach to consumers, and how the post-consumer paint will be collected, treated, stored, transported, and disposed.
In addition to reduced costs for local taxpayers, a Paint Stewardship Program will create convenient recycling opportunities and green sector jobs, reduce disposal in favor of recycling, and result in less waste as consumers become smarter and more efficient shoppers for paint. The measure has drawn the support of a range of environmental advocacy organizations, paint industry representatives, and municipal agencies, including: Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency; Madison County Department of Solid Waste and Sanitation; American Coatings Association; New York Product Stewardship Council; Citizens Campaign for the Environment; and the National Resources Defense Council. The legislation was also cited last session as a priority bill by the joint, bipartisan New York State Caucus of Environmental Legislators.
Other states that have implemented comparable programs are showing impressive results - Oregon has collected and recycled over 1 million gallons of paint since its program was implemented in July 2010; California launched its program in 2012 and has over 350 new collection locations accepting paint for recycling.
The bill has been sent to the Assembly.