When you hear the word recycling, the first thing that comes to mind is blue or green bins, perhaps using cloth bags instead of single-use plastics or maybe other measures to reduce one’s environmental footprint. For CPCA members recycling has a far more personal meaning. It represents more than 28 million kilograms collected annually in Canada and all paid for by paint manufacturers. In 8 of Canada’s ten Provinces, Product Care makes that happen as the program operator for Canada’s paint waste recovery.
In 1994, the province of British Columbia introduced Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations for paint, obligating paint producers (retailers/manufacturers) to develop recycling processes for their end-of-life products. The regulations were stringent and comprehensive, requiring producers to create collection networks, product transportation systems, processing standards, reporting and auditing practices, public awareness and education strategies, and more. The industry stepped up then and Product Care was born!
Paint manufacturers reunited to form Product Care (then called Paint Care), a not-for-profit organization that would manage every aspect of the provincial EPR requirements on their behalf, ensuring that its members (aka paint producers) were compliant.
Paint Care was a tremendous success, capturing significant volumes of paint in its recycling program. In subsequent years, the association was reorganized as “Product Care Recycling” when it expanded throughout Canada and the United States and added more product categories. Today, Product Care manages paint, household hazardous waste (pesticides, flammable liquids, corrosives, toxics, solvents and more), lighting products, and smoke and CO alarms, in response to EPR regulations designating these products. The vast majority of the products they recover in Canada is still paint.
Product Care embraces the mantra of reduce, reuse, and recycle. An example of that includes their PaintShare Program. The PaintShare Program allows people to pick up leftover paint collected at participating paint recycling locations, for reuse. Sharing leftover paint is cost-effective, energy-efficient, and puts paint where it belongs — on any surface in need of some TLC. Recycling paint programs in Canada are completely FREE, as per provincial regulations, with no limits on how much paint you can drop off or pick up and use. Leftover paint can be dropped off at municipal sites, some private collection sites such as bottle depots or events, and various participating retail outlets across Canada. You can find your nearest recycling location to drop off paint, and other products managed by Product Care or pick up paint through their PaintShare Program on Product Care’s recycling locator at www.productcare.org. CPCA manufacturer members have provided a pathway to Canadians to easily reduce, reuse, and recycle their leftover waste paint.