recycling: Helping Paint Recycling's Picture

October 1, 1997

7 Min Read
recycling: Helping Paint Recycling's Picture


What do you get when you mix reclaimed latex's paler hues?

A non-descript gray-beige. Blend the darker colors and you produce a shade of cocoa brown.

What this pallet lacks in color, though, the North Americans recycling the paint make up for in ingenuity, offering a variety of technical recycling approaches that breathe new life into old paint.

Approximately 30 North American companies reclaim latex paint or include reclaimed pre-consumer content in the otherwise virgin paint they sell. Additionally, a handful of household hazardous waste (HHW) programs remix paint and typically donate it to housing authorities or municipal governments.

Unlike other materials, reclaiming latex paint does not require that it be chemically or even significantly physically transformed. Therefore, businesses and county programs vary in sophistication, some merely checking that the paint brought to the collection programs is not dried up and then mixing it into a bland color suitable for institutional walls, low-cost housing, rehabs and painting over graffiti.

Others sell a variety of colors, with a gallon costing from $3 to $13. Recycled content varies from 40 percent to 100 percent, and companies distribute as few as 3,000 and as many as 400,000 gallons annually.

Two of North America's largest recycled paint producers are Hotz Environmental Services, a private, full-service hazardous waste disposal and recycling company located in Hamilton, Ontario, and Denver-based Banner Manufacturing.

For seven years, Holtz's paint recycling division has sold 200,000 to 400,000 gallons of paint per year to six countries on four continents.

"North American consumers are not necessarily ready for recycled paint, so we sell to developing countries that need a quality product at good prices," says Holtz's Pamela McAuley.

Hotz produces eight colors in three grades:

* Canadian Gold, a highly-filtered paint made from slightly off-spec product from manufacturers;

* Canadian Silver, which is 50 percent post consumer; and

* Canadian Bronze, which is 100 percent recycled and graffiti grade.

Unlike Hotz, Banner Manufacturing also sells virgin paint. The company has reclaimed paint since 1994 and has made a profit since 1996. Like many paint recyclers, it receives its paint from HHW collection programs, but unlike some, receives no paint from industry sources.

The company sells 100,000 to 150,000 gallons per year and makes 11 colors. The challenge, according to President Ken Valis, is in combining the different paint brands and grades because some have proprietary formulas.

Although some companies recycle paint for profit, others came into existence because paint from HHW programs, which comprises one half of its collected materials, needs to be disposed. "Frankly, we don't want to recycle paint," says Bill Petersen, director of operations for the Coronado Paint Co., Schertz, Texas.

Nevertheless, this virgin paint manufacturer recycles it for Austin, Texas, and San Antonio. The company adds cellulose or water to increase or decrease the paint's viscosity, puts on a label which reads "Old Paint" and sells a light and dark hue back to the cities.

Similarly, Luis Garcia of Kelly-Moore Paint, Hurst, Texas, says that his virgin paint company recycles about 3,000 gallons per year for Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, but is considering discontinuing the service because it is not profitable.

Though recycling approximately the same volume as Banner and Kelly-Moore, Rosemary Roque of Angel Touch, Allentown, Pa., seeks new sources of paint. Eventually, she wants to sell paint to her native Puerto Rico.

The Lehigh Valley's Community Action Development Committee set up the urban entrepreneur in business by providing a grant and training. Roque had no business experience and little formal education.

She currently receives approximately 600 gallons per month from Lehigh County, Pa., and is paid 40 percent of what it would cost the county to dispose of the product. Roque sorts the paint by color in a county-built, 65-gallon container. She sells a gallon of interior flat latex in a variety of colors for $5, and semigloss, pure white and exterior paint for $7.

Of similar size, the eight-person Rasmussen Paint Co., Beaverton, Ore., sells approximately 3,000 gallons per year of "Oregon Sand" to ecologically minded organizations, according to its founder, J. Chris Rasmussen.

Like Hotz, Focus Recycling Systems Inc., Warren, N.J., is a for-profit waste recycling company that recycles material collected from HHW programs and private industry in the New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York areas. Focus sells approximately 500 gallons per month of 100 percent recycled and post-consumer latex paint for between $3.50 and $6 per gallon.

James Witte, the company's president, has discovered, like Roque, that the higher grades of latex (and the evaporation from sitting in storage) seem to increase the paint's quality.

Witte says his company has been profitable since fall of 1996, although the paint recycling profit is not quite as high as the original corporate goal. Angel Touch is not yet profitable.

For more information, visit the on-line guide to recycling paint at posted by the National Paint & Coatings Association.

Awards Colorado Recycles, Lakewood, has presented its 1997 recycler of the year awards to: Eco-Cycle, Bolder; Recycled Plastics Products Inc., Littleton; The Poudre School District, Ft. Collins; Plateau Valley Association, Grand Junction; Western Slope resident Dennis Dupon; Denver Recycles and Keyston and reckinridge Resorts.

Certification Environmental Resources Management, Exton, Pa.,a global environmental health and safety consulting firm, has achieved ISO 9000 certification at 11 of its U.S. offices including: Exton, Pa., and Pittsburgh; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Annapolis, Md., and Baltimore; Columbus, Ohio; Hurricane, W.V.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Princeton, N.J.; and Richmond and Roanoke, Va.

Contracts The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Louisville, Ky., District awarded Roy F. Weston Inc., West Chester, Pa., a three-year contract with a maximum value of $4 million for environmental engineering services, including investigation and design and construction management, in the midwest states located in USACE's Ohio River Division.

Roy F. Weston also has been awarded a Response Action Contract by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) valued at up to $242 million. Under the contract, Weston will provide environmental consulting and engineering services from initial investigations through final remediation and closure at sites in EPA Region V, which also includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.

Investment Rating As part of its ongoing rating program, Standard and Poor's once again has confirmed an "A" Rating for the Delaware Solid Waste Authority's (DSWA) Solid Waste System Revenue Bonds. In addition, DSWA has earned a rating outlook of "stable" for the intermediate to long term.

Loans The California Integrated Waste Management Board, Sacramento, has approved $2,221,134 in loans for Evergreen Glass, Stockton, MBA Polymers, Richmond, and Vision Recycling, Alameda County, as part of its Recycling Market Development Zone program's effort to spur markets for recyclable goods in California.

Name Change The 90-year old automotive unit of Rockwell, soon to be an independent, stand-alone company, unveiled its new name, Meritor Automotive Inc., Troy, Mich., beginning October 1, 1997. Meritor employs more than 16,000 people at 58 manufacturing, research and sales facilities in 15 countries. Its 1996 sales reportedly were $3.1 billion.

New Facility Americana Resource Technologies, Sterling, Co., has opened a new integrated solid waste recycling, processing and composting facility in Lexington, Neb. The plant currently is operating at 110 tons per day and cost $2 million (a capital cost of $18,000 per ton of capacity per day).

New Office Environmental Resources Management (ERM), Exton, Pa., has opened a new office in Providence, R.I. Duane Wanty, a principal of ERM and a Licensed Site Professional, has been named manager of the office.

Reorganization HDR Inc., Omaha Nebraska, has restructured responsibilities of the company's top managers and established and Office of the President to unite its operating companys, its development efforts in new delivery systems and corporate administrative functions under one umbrella, according to the company. Named to new positions within HDR are George A. Little, COO for HDR Engineering Inc.; Patrick B. McDermott, COO for Henningson, Durham & Richardson Inc.; James H. Suttle, corporate development executive vice president; and Terence C. Cox, CFO.

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