Recycle paint before winter; new warehouse helps crews

WILLISTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Have old paint cans piling up? Now is the time to recycle them.

Crews with the Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD) say that's because as the temperatures drop, so does the quality of paint.

While the CSWD accepts paint in any form, they won't make low-quality old paint into recycled paint called "Local Color."

"Now is a great time to clear out all of your leftover paint because if it sits through the winter, it's going to degrade and it's going to be lower quality on the other side of the winter," said Jonny Finity, with CSWD.

Crews recently started recycling paint out of a one-floor warehouse.

Gary Winnie, a hazardous waste coordinator says working on one floor has made things more efficient.

"It was always a challenge in the old building that we had a mezzanine, a main floor, a basement level and then a, a level in the basement that was halfway between the basement and the main floor," said Winnie. "So moving 500 pound drums up and down that sequence took a lot of time."

Winnie has been recycling paint for 26 years and says Local Color is the best paint on the market for the money.

People will pay about $11 for a one gallon and $45 for five gallons of the recycled product.

"We're changing the recipe so that all of the paint that we produce for Local Color is interior and exterior paint," said Finity.

The most popular color? White.

Once old paint cans are dropped of at the CSWD, trucks bring them down the street to the warehouse.

Then, similar colors of the best quality are poured into black canisters.

The colors are then mixed, poured into new buckets, capped with a lid and stacked.

Then it's not just leftover paint, but Local Color.

"The main reason to recycle paint is that it's a valuable resource that we can reuse," said Finity. "I mean, if you go out and buy a can of paint, a lot of resources went into creating that paint and if you let it degrade and it has to be sent to the landfill, it's just wasted resources."

According to research, creating new cans of paint from scratch releases pounds of carbon dioxide and burns energy.

If people need another reason to recycle: throwing paint into the trash is illegal.

Finity says 75 percent of the paint they take in gets recycled.

He says 25 percent is deemed high quality and ends up in the hands of Vermonters through Local Color.

The other 50 percent is taken to Canada to be mixed and sold as a lower-quality paint.