■ By Kim Beeler / Contributed
Last weekend, we celebrated Earth Day. It was a great time to collect your old or unused paint, stain and varnish (still in their original cans) sitting around the house or business and drop them off at a local PaintCare California drop-off site in Hemet. PaintCare is a nonprofit organization established by paint manufacturers to provide convenient places to recycle leftover paint.
In California, there are now 812 year-round drop-off sites. Sherwin-Williams and Vista Paint are the two designated sites located in Hemet. Sherwin-Williams, 415 W. Stetson Ave., has been involved in the paint stewardship program since Nov. 18, 2013 and Vista Paint, 101 E. Florida Ave., has been involved since Oct. 19, 2012.
Most drop-off locations are paint and hardware stores that have volunteered to take back paint. They are open six or seven days a week and most sites take up to five gallons at one time. Some sites are able to take more, so check the site locator at paintcare.org for the details of all nearby sites.
PaintCare also works with solid-waste transfer stations and government-run hazardous household waste (HHW) facilities in the state. There is no charge for dropping off paint at a PaintCare location because the program is funded by a nominal fee on new paint purchases.
In addition to the year-round drop-off sites, PaintCare holds a few one-day, free events across the state taking an unlimited amount of paint per person. There will be an event in Hemet coming up on May 19 from 8 a.m.-noon at the City of Hemet Corporation Yard, 3777 Industrial Ave.
At last year’s one-day event, more than 230 households and businesses dropped off an estimated 2,500 gallons of leftover paint, stain and varnish—more than 10 gallons per participant.
This one-day event is part of an ongoing service offered by the PaintCare program. These special events make it easier for households and businesses in the area to recycle large amounts of unwanted house paint, stain and varnish. Please note that there are a few restrictions on oil-based paint.
The PaintCare program runs the California Paint Stewardship Program on behalf of paint manufacturers. Since 2012, 12 million gallons of paint have been collected and processed statewide, according to the program’s 2017 annual report (July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017).
Matt Frank, store manager of Vista Paint in Hemet, said the store has eight bins filling about 18, five-gallon cans at least once a month. He said customers have commented positively about the convenient recycling program. It even stopped the illegal storefront drop-offs.
“Customers say they appreciate it because it’s more convenient for them,” Frank said. “In the past, they had to recycle through Riverside County Flood Control. PaintCare gave us a little more business too. The recycling program gets people in the store and they often buy paint while they’re here.”
Matt Shoup, store manager at Sherwin-Williams in Hemet, said they have one bin picked up about every three weeks. He noted that he receives about three calls a day inquiring about paint recycling.
“It’s a very beneficial program,” Shoup said. “PaintCare gives our customers a proper way of recycling their paint, so they’re not just tossing wet paint in their trash or down the drain. We do a lot of work with companies buying 200 to 300 gallons at a time. Our store limits each drop-off to 10 gallons per person per week.”
Before residents or businesses plan to bring paint to one of PaintCare’s year-round drop-off locations, it is advised to call the location to check whether they can accept the type and amount of paint you would like to recycle. Please visit www.paintcare.org/california for locations and phone numbers.