Your Stories Q&A: Why am I being charged a recycling fee when buying paint?

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – You ask, we answer!

A few of our viewers have recently reached out to the Your Stories Team wondering why they’re being charged a recycling fee when they buy a can of paint.

A recycling fee started to be applied to paint sales here in New York in May of 2022.

The recycling program is run by a nonprofit named PaintCare.

The program allows you to drop off old paint and similar products at participating hardware stores and other businesses.

You can drop off up to five gallons of paint, per visit. Some locations will take more. The paint must be in its original container. It’s free to drop off paint because it is funded through a PaintCare recycling fee on all new paint purchases in New York.

The fee starts at $.45 on purchases of half a pint up to a gallon. The charge is $.95 for one and two gallons of paint. It increases to $1.95 on purchases of two gallons up to five gallons.

PaintCare said more than $21 million has been raised through the fee since the program began.

According to PaintCare’s website, the fee funds, “collection, transportation, and processing of unused postconsumer (leftover) architectural paint, public education about proper paint management, and administrative costs.”

PaintCare said more than 1 million gallons of paint have been recycled in New York.

An important note, not all hardware or other stores that sell paint accept recycled paint. PaintCare said it currently has 328 drop-off locations statewide and 21 sites across Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego Counties.

According to PaintCare’s website, “Retailers serve as PaintCare drop-off sites voluntarily. Not all paint and hardware stores have enough storage space or staff to be drop-off sites. Typically, about twenty percent of paint retailers in a state participate.”

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