Wednesday, Dec 4, 2013
Tax on Paint Could Launch State Recycling Program
WILLIAMSON COUNTY -- Illinois is one of the latest states to consider a new recycling program for paint. However, getting the system up and running could mean a new tax when you checkout at the hardware store.
Options for getting rid of old paint are fairly limited in Illinois. You can't throw it away, and there are just a small number of paint drop-off days and locations. That's why a bill is in the works to help expand those choices.
On a busy weekend, cans of paint fly off the shelf at Ace Hardware in Energy. When the home projects are done, customers sometimes bring those leftovers back to the store.
"A lot of people, they don't know what to do with it," said Floor Supervisor Keri Pearce. "Because obviously you can't throw it away."
Pearce doesn't have many good disposal options to offer.
"We really don't have anywhere to put it or tell them where to go," said Pearce.
The store has its own stock of mismatched colors. Some are sold at discounted prices or collecting dust.
"We've got a lot of paint in the back that we can't do anything with," said Pearce.
Some Illinois lawmakers and organizations hope to solve the problem with a tax on paint. The funds would then be used to fund the recycling plan.
Senate Bill 1705 doesn't say how much this paint fee will cost. However, three states that have already started the program have gone with 75 cents a gallon.
The system would work through PaintCare, a non-profit that launched its first recycling setup in Oregon.
"It's very similar to the assessment that folks pay when they buy tires in the state of Illinois that's used for then the disposal of tires," said Chemical Industry Council of Illinois Executive Director Mark Biel.
The Chemical Industry Council of Illinois is behind the push to bring in PaintCare. If the tax is approved, people could drop off any extras at locations statewide.
"The logical collection points, in many cases, are your local paint retailer," said Biel.
That would allow the unwanted supplies to later be re-used or re-sold.
"There's companies that are springing up that actually collect waste paint and then they break it out according to colors," said Biel.
A hearing on the bill, with state and local government officials and retailers, will be held in Springfield in early November. The paint tax would likely go before lawmakers next year.
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