Today we’d like to introduce you to Kevin Lynch.
Kevin, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Unlike a lot of people, I have always had a passion for trash. Everyone generates some waste each day, but how much and where it goes has always fascinated me. I was an intern at a municipality when I discovered PaintCare and the field of product stewardship, in other words, the idea that manufacturers take responsibility for the end-life of their products. Paint is one of the many products that almost everyone deals with at one time or another, and people have to make a conscious decision to dispose of it properly. I love working with an organization that is making that decision easier by providing a responsible and convenient solution.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
As with any new program, there are some bumps along the way. For instance, initially, residents thought PaintCare was only available for a limited time and many drop-off sites were overwhelmed with paint in the first few months of operation in 2015. We continue to educate the public that PaintCare is an ongoing service with more than 170 drop-off sites across the state – located mostly at paint and hardware stores – that will take paint year-round whenever the stores are open.
Another challenge especially in Denver is finding retailer drop-off sites with a large enough footprint to hold the bins necessary for storing dropped off paint. There are some alternative solutions that are being discussed to help, including smaller bins with increased pickup frequency. One of our other solutions is offering special, one-day drop-off events where businesses and residents can get rid of a lot of paint at once. Most recently at our Denver drop-off event, we welcomed more than 2,000 cars and collected more than 15,000 gallons of paint.
We’d love to hear more about your organization.
Leftover paint is a common problem – many people end up with it, but they don’t know how to get rid of it responsibly. The old advice was to let it dry out and throw it away, but that only works for latex paint. Also, sometimes the product is still valuable, and it can be given away, reused, or recycled. PaintCare provides solutions and diverts potential paint waste into a usable resource.
We’re a nonprofit organization operating the paint stewardship program on behalf of the paint manufacturing industry, and we operate in Colorado thanks to a statewide paint stewardship law passed in 2015. The law introduced a small fee on new paint sales in the state, and that funds PaintCare’s collection and processing of paint, as well as public outreach about the program. We encourage buying the right amount of paint to reduce overall waste, using up what you have or giving it to others, and then recycling the rest at no additional cost one of our convenient drop-off sites.
PaintCare also hosts drop-off events in underserved areas of the state including urban locations and the rural “paint sweep” events we host each summer in smaller towns and cities. Our Large Volume Pickup Service has completed over 300 free, door-to-door pickups for businesses and residents with 200 gallons of paint or more.
PaintCare constantly adapts to become a better more effective program while fulfilling its legislative goals. Repeatedly hearing that someone waited 30 years for a program like this helps me know I am doing great work!
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
The program will be successful when we fulfill the legislative requirements of the program. It would be great to know that every Coloradan understands that unused, leftover paint in Colorado can be dropped-off conveniently at a PaintCare drop-off site for proper disposal. However, ultimately, I believe that anyone is successful when they try their best. Keep learning and growing!
- PaintCare is funded though the PaintCare Fee placed on purchases of new paint. It’s a small cost upfront shared by all users of paint, to cover the cost of managing leftover paint waste. The fees are as follows:
- Half pint or smaller – $0.00
- Larger than half pint up to smaller than 1 gallon – $0.35
- 1 Gallon – $0.75
- Larger than 1 gallon up to 5 gallons – $1.60
- Website: https://www.paintcare.org/Colorado
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/werecyclepaint/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WeRecyclePaint
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/WeRecyclePaint
- Other: https://vimeo.com/paintcare