Waste management bills under consideration in the state Legislature could make it easier for Kitsap residents to recycle paint and create savings for local government.
The bills would create a central nonprofit organization, which would manage the collection of hazardous paint products throughout Washington. This nonprofit would be funded by the state’s paint manufacturers.
Under current legislation, local government is responsible for the collection and disposal of hazardous paint. Local collection is managed by the public works department, and at the moment residents who want to dispose of paint products need to travel to its collection facility near Belfair.
Rick Gilbert, moderate risk waster program manager for public works, said if the bills pass disposal options would likely increase dramatically, making it so residents in north Kitsap wouldn’t have to travel as far.
People would be able to visit retail outlets to take back old paint, instead of traveling to only one location near Belfair.
Oregon has adopted similar legislation to the bills on the table in Washington. Gilbert said if the Washington legislation comes out similar to Oregon’s, it could save his department $125,000 per year in transportation and disposal costs alone.
Gilbert said Kitsap is one of the only counties in the Puget Sound area that still accepts latex-based paints. Many other counties have stopped accepting the paint since it is now considered slightly less toxic than it used to be, and because the paint is so expensive to dispose of.
Public Works isn’t the only group backing the legislation, however. The majority of independent retailers in Washington also support the bills. Ray Donahue owns Peninsula Paint, which has locations around Kitsap County.
Donahue said he supports the legislation for a number of reasons. It would help reduce the amount of improperly disposed paint and it would save his business money.
Right now, paint businesses like Donahue’s have to pay for disposal of extra or unneeded paint, but under new legislation, this would be covered by an assessment added to paint purchases.
Gilbert said the Oregon program adds somewhere around 75 cents onto a gallon of paint to fund the recycling program.
Some paint would still have to disposed of by the county, like contaminated paint or paint from containers with no label.
Both Donahue and Gilbert said that one benefit of the proposed legislation was its backing by members of the paint community, unlike past recycling bills like ones for pharmaceuticals which that industry fought.
On Feb. 27 the paint stewardship bill was passed through the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment & Telecommunications. It was referred to the Ways and Means committee where it awaits the next step.
The paint stewardship’s sister bill in the state House of Representatives did not make it out of committee. The Senate has until sometime in April to refer the bill to the House.