Market Projects - Paint

Project #6: Market Development Strategy

This project involves the direct promotion of recycled content paint purchases. With initial funding from Metro Regional Government in Oregon and Dunn-Edwards paint company in California, PSI began researching potential markets for recycled paint in Oregon and California. The project goal is to increase recycled paint purchases in those two states. If additional funding is received, PSI will expand its marketing efforts to other states and the federal government, and develop model procurement policies to be voluntarily adopted by government and business. PSI will also develop articles on recycled paint purchasing for green building, procurement, and other publications.


Project #7: Recycled Paint Marketing Guide for Distributors

The goal of this project is to promote the use of recycled content paint by developing a flexible and adaptable comprehensive marketing guide for both public and private distributors, targeting a variety of market segments (e.g., homeowners, painting contractors, government agencies, non-profits, and export). The guide would educate buyers about the nature of recycled content paint, including its quality and performance. The guide would be used to overcome barriers and misconceptions with regard to recycled content paint. The project will be monitored closely to ensure adherence to antitrust regulations. This project is on hold until the Recycled Paint Certification System (Project #8) is completed and additional funds are raised.


Project #8: Recycled Paint Standard and Certification System

One of the main barriers to the purchase of recycled paint is the perception that it is inferior to virgin paint. Paint recyclers believe that recycled paint can perform as good as, or better, than virgin paint in specific categories. To prove this claim, the PPSI dialogue is developing guidelines and performance specifications for recycled paint, along with a system for certifying specific recycled paint products. Such actions will help assure potential buyers and others involved with paint procurement of the quality, performance, and safety of recycled paint.

Early funding by Metro Regional Government and Dunn Edwards allowed this project to start prior to receiving a sizable grant from the California Integrated Waste Management Board through San Joaquin County, California. California is the home of the majority of the country’s paint recyclers. With assistance from PSI and the Markets Workgroup, the County hired Cal Polytechnic University to identify and evaluate entities that could develop a recycled paint environmental and performance standards, and recommend specifications to include in the standards. Cal Poly developed a final report entitled, Preliminary Research on Certification Options, in December 2005, and presented their findings to the full PPSI group at its September 24 dialogue meeting in Portland, OR. Based on Cal Poly’s report and recommendations, PPSI recommended to San Joaquin County that it contract with Green Seal, and Green Seal began to develop the environmental standard for recycled paint in January 2006.

In August 2006, Green Seal published the national environmental standard for recycled-content latex paint. The standard assured consumers that recycled paint, in addition to being environmentally beneficial, can perform as well as virgin paint, both in terms of ease of application and quality and longevity of finish. The environmental standard was developed by consensus to ensure transparency and stakeholder acceptance. The consensus process was conducted under ISO standards for environmental labeling. ISO section 10202 requires that reasonable efforts be made to develop consensus-based labeling standards.

The Master Painters Institute (MPI), a nationally recognized paint performance certification organization, worked with Green Seal and PSI on the performance portion of the standard. The paint meets the same MPI performance standards used for virgin paint in any given category. The final standard takes into account the quality, performance, and safety of recycled paint, as well as environmental attributes. While MPI’s sole focus is performance, Green Seal also considered the health and safety standards for VOC content, formulation (carcinogens/mutagens), packaging, and other factors when developing the standard.

This standard establishes environmental and performance requirements for recycled content interior and exterior latex paint. The standard does not apply to stains, clear finishes, paints sold in aerosol cans, or oil-based paints. For the purposes of the standard, recycled content latex paints are made by two distinct methods, consolidation and reprocessing. The standard defines consolidated and reprocessed paints as follows:

  • Consolidated Paint – this paint, which requires a low level of processing, must contain a minimum of 95% post-consumer content with a maximum of 5% secondary industrial materials or virgin materials.
  • Reprocessed Paint – this paint is a remanufactured product that must contain a minimum of 50% post-consumer paint (for darker colors) and a minimum of 25% post-consumer AND 50% total recycled content (for whites and pastels).

Manufacturers are now able to send paint products for testing and apply for Green Seal certification. The average time to get a product certified is 3 months, and the cost is approximately $15,000 to certify several types of paints. At least two companies have already started the testing and certification process, and others are expected to follow.

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