County of Marin - News Releases - Paint Reuse and Recycling

For Immediate Release
January 25, 2016

Paint Recycling Pays Off for Marin Towns, Cities

National environmental program on the rise, saving communities money

San Rafael, CA – A Marin County paint recycling and reuse program is not only cleaning up the environment but saving cash for local governments.

A man handles old paint cans at the Household Hazardous Waste Facility in San Rafael.A worker handles paint cans at the Household Hazardous Waste facility in San Rafael (photo: Bob Hollis).
According to Zero Waste Marin, the paint recycling and reuse program called PaintCare saved $214,193 for participating municipalities in Marin during fiscal year 2014-15. Novato, which has a separate paint recycling program, accounted for another $76,300 in savings, according to the Novato Sanitary District. That brings the Marin annual total to $290,493.

The San Rafael Fire Department oversees Zero Waste Marin’s Marin Household Hazardous Waste Facility, which includes the local paint recycling program. The work is paying off: Less than 2 percent of paint goes to a landfill.

“Since we rolled out the PaintCare program two years ago, it’s been a big success,” said Courtney Scott, an environmental management coordinator for with San Rafael Fire. “Paint accounts for more than one-third of the household hazardous waste we collect at our facility.”

Most Marin residents and some qualified small businesses can drop off paint at the Household Hazardous Waste Facility that is part of the Marin Sanitary Service complex at 565 Jacoby Street in San Rafael. Residents throughout Marin may inquire with paint retailers about whether they can accept paint for recycling as well.

How is the money savings generated? According to state guidelines, municipalities used to be required to pay to recycle collected leftover paint. The national PaintCare program allows for paint disposal for free and has covered more than $52 million in processing and transportation costs for leftover paint since 2009.

“Programs like this can make a significant impact on helping reduce waste and controlling costs in our waste management system,” said Steve Devine, Program Manager with the Marin County Department of Public Works’ Waste Management Division. “It’s smart both environmentally and economically. This is an example of extended producer responsibility where the generators of the materials pay up front for the eventual disposal of their products.”

Paint reuse is gaining in popularity as well, Scott said. Leftover paints deemed high in quality are given away for free at the Household Hazardous Waste Facility in San Rafael. Other paints are reprocessed and mixed into white, beige and gray colors, then provided free to participating jurisdictions for graffiti abatement. Some of the reprocessed paint is sold to the public for $4.65 per gallon. The facility is open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.

“Paint reuse is another big component of the savings,” Scott said. “We’re being reimbursed for putting perfectly good paint back on the shelves. Our reuse area is very popular and paint is often taken off the shelves minutes after it’s put there.”

Zero Waste Marin is a joint powers authority comprised of the city and town managers of Belvedere, Corte Madera, Fairfax, Larkspur, Mill Valley, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito and Tiburon and the County of Marin. It is overseen by the Marin County Department of Public Works. Because of Novato’s separate program, residents there are not eligible to participate in the recycling or reuse program at the San Rafael facility but may participate at Novato Sanitary District at 500 Davidson Street.


Steve Devine
Program Manager
Department of Public Works

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 304
San Rafael, CA 94913
(415) 473-2711
CRS Dial 711
Email: Steve Devine
DPW Website