Paint Source Reduction Modeling

Most Americans will at some point face the question of what to do with leftover paint. In 2007, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated that about 10 percent of all paint purchased in the United States goes unused – around 64 million gallons annually. At an average cost of $8 per gallon, proper management of leftover consumer paint would cost municipalities over half a billion dollars annually.

To comply with the State of Oregon paint product stewardship law, the implementing industry organization, Paint Care, must develop annual goals, including the goal of “reducing the amount of post-consumer architectural paint that is generated in this state.” However, developing a measurement technique for quantifying source reduction of postconsumer paint, and establishing a baseline for the quantity of paint leftover in a given year, pose significant challenges for setting a source-reduction goal and measuring progress toward that goal.

Full Circle, and prime consultant Cascadia, were selected to meet the challenge of this statutory requirement by developing a replicable process for measuring, and setting a goal for, post-consumer paint source reduction. Specifically, the task is to conduct a study on the measurement of, and strategies for, reducing the generation of post-consumer paint (i.e., all architectural paint that is not used and no longer wanted), as well as to determine the reasons why it is generated, and recommend strategies and an annual goal for reducing this waste. Preliminary modeling and recommendations have been provided are under review at the time of writing. We are currently waiting for the paint to dry.