New paint recycling program provides environmental benefits

Mary Bullwinkel

Beacon Correspondent

Thanks to Eel River Resource Recovery there is now a county-wide program in place to recycle household paint products and keep them out of the waste stream. The new program began on Monday.

"We have been working on getting this program established for more than a year," Manager of Resource Recovery Chuck Schager said. He added that it was a top priority for ERRR owner Harry Hardin. "It was his vision to take more materials out of the waste stream, by offering this asset to the community," Schager said. Hardin said his business has received many calls over the years regarding paint disposal and recycling. "This should have happened a long time ago," he said.

Humboldt County 2nd District Supervisor Estelle Fennell was on hand for the kick-off announcement of the program at ERRR's Fortuna location. "I love the idea that the Second District is taking a lead role (in establishing this program), and I am very proud of Eel River Resource Recovery stepping forward to make this program possible" she said. "This is great for the environment and great for the residents of Humboldt County," Fennell said.

No longer will paint have to be disposed of during a household hazardous waste event; it can be dropped off, free of charge, at three ERRR locations in Fortuna, Redway and Arcata during regular business hours.

The program is a partnership with PaintCare, a nonprofit organization established by the American Coating Association. "Eel River Resource Recovery is the first Transfer Station/Recycling Center to sign up under the state-mandated paint stewardship program," Schager said.

Latex and oil-based household paints only will be accepted, but it can be up to 20 years old. Marine and automobile paints are not included in this program. An individual may drop off up to 25 gallons of paint per day. Painting contractors are limited to 27 gallons of paint per month. Certain conditions must be met to qualify paint for this program.

"It must be in the original container," Schager said, "there must be at least a small piece of the original paint can label, and the paint container must not be leaking."

Ultimately, the paint will be taken to a state-run recycling facility. The latex paints will be reblended, while the oil-based paints will be used for pigmentation for cement products and asphalt.

Photo by Mary Bullwinkel/Beacon

Eel River Valley elected officials gathered to congratulate Eel River Resource Recovery representatives on a new program to accept household paints for recycling. Pictured left to right, ERRR Manager of Resource Recovery Chuck Schager, Ferndale Mayor Stuart Titus, ERRR owner Harry Hardin, Fortuna Mayor Doug Strehl, Rio Dell Mayor Jack Thompson, Humboldt County 2nd District Supervisor Estelle Fennell and Ferndale City Manager Jay Parrish.