Illinois Considers New Fee on Paint to Fund Recycling

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Illinois could add a fee to the cost of paint that would be used to establish drop-off points for unwanted paint. Photo: Flickr/DBduo Photography

Illinois could add a fee to the cost of paint that would be used to establish drop-off points for unwanted paint. Photo: Flickr/DBduo Photography

Under new legislation being debated on state House and Senate floors, Illinois could tack a new fee on the cost of paint to help fund a paint recycling program. The proposal, similar to recycling fees added to products like tires and car batteries, is aimed at keeping paint out of landfills.

The legislation was first introduced last spring, and members of the Illinois House and Senate Environment Committee held a joint hearing in November to take subject matter testimony regarding the proposed paint recycling program.

The new fee is modeled after similar programs in use in seven states — Oregon, California, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut and Vermont — and would equate to $0.35 per quart or $0.75 per gallon, lawmakers said.

Proceeds from the consumer fee, along with fees on paint manufacturers, would then be used to establish drop-off points where Illinois residents can dispose of unwanted paint — primarily at retail locations.

In Oregon, the first state to launch a paint recycling program, the goal is for 95 percent of residents to live within 15 miles of a recycling depot, reports the Journal Gazette & Times-Courier, a daily newspaper in eastern Illinois.

The American Coatings Association, which lobbies on behalf of paint manufacturers, and the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois are staunch supporters of the program. They argued that in order for a paint take-back program to work, it must be transparent and require compliance across the industry so some companies don’t have a competitive advantage over others.

Opponents of the program include both the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC). The IEC stated that manufacturers should fund the program without fees on consumers, and worried about establishing take-back programs with little government oversight. Retailers said it would be hard to implement in-store take-back sites, especially if merchants are on the hook for paying disposal fees.

Both proponents and opponents conceded that more questions need to be answered before the new law is passed. They called for continued discussions on the matter to try to reach a resolution.

If approved, the new fee is not expected to go into effect until early 2015.

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Mary Mazzoni

Mary Mazzoni

Mary is a lifelong vegetarian and enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, biking and relaxing in the park. When she’s not outside, she’s probably watching baseball. She is a former assistant editor for Earth911.
Mary Mazzoni