Paint Stewardship in Canada


Saskatchewan launched the Saskatchewan Paint Stewardship Program in April, 2006. The program is funded by eco-fees remitted by industry members, collected by them at point of sale from customers purchasing paint. The fee may be shown separately, or included as part of the price, and is taxable. The fees are remitted to Product Care Association, who manage the recycling program. Leftover paint can be taken to any SARCAN depot in the province for recycling, and some paint is made available free of charge as a "paint exchange" (no guarantees on the quality of exchanged paint, though).

The eco-fees on paint are:

100 to 250 mls 10 cents
251 ml to 1 litre 25 cents
1.01 litres to 5 litres 60 cents
5.01 litres to 23 litres $1.50
aerosol paint (all sizes) 10 cents

For all the details, see the Regeneration website.

British Columbia, Quebec, and Nova Scotia also have formal stewardship programs for paint and paint products.

BC - First Out of the Box (Can!)

Canada's first paint stewardship program was established in British Columbia in 1994. The BC Paint Care Association (PCA) was formed to manage leftover consumer paint as a result of BC's Post-Consumer Paint Stewardship Program Regulations.

BC's current system evolved after a similar Post-Consumer Residual Stewardship Program Regulation was enacted in 1997. Two other stewardship associations were formed to manage flammable liquids, pesticides and gasoline. BC Solvent Care Association (SCA) managed paint-related solvents, and the Consumer Product Care Association (CPCare) managed pesticides, gasoline and the solvent from non-paint brand owners.

In 1999, PCA and SCA amalgamated to form Paint & Product Care Association (PPC) to consolidate the stewardship of paint and paint-related solvents into one organization. Then, in 2001, members of PPC and CPCare chose to amalgamate into Product Care, which is now responsible for the environmental stewardship of consumer paint, flammable liquids, pesticides and gasoline in BC. See for more information on BC's paint and other hazardous material stewardship programs.

BC's paint stewardship program is funded through eco-fees applied at the point of sale, like Saskatchewan's oil and tire stewardship programs. When BC consumers buy paint, they pay fees according to the size and type of the paint container:

250 ml or less 25 cents
251 ml to 1 litre 35 cents
1.01 litres to 5 litres 85 cents
5.01 litres to 23 litres $2.15
aerosol paint (all sizes) 25 cents

Once consumers are through with their paint, they can bring it back to a Paint Depot. In British Columbia, ReGeneration operates more than 200 collection sites across the province where consumers may return leftover paint including 90 collection sites where consumers may also dispose of flammables, gasoline and pesticides. 

Paint collected at the depots is put in in plastic tubs and transported to a central processing facility in Surrey, BC.

86 of the depots operate paint exchanges, which allow the public and non-profit groups to obtain usable paint.

In 2010, 9.56 million equivalent litre containers (ELCs ) were collected through the Paint Depots.

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Quebec — Eco-Peinture

In April 2001, Quebec enacted a take-back regulation for paint -- requiring industry to recover 25% by 2002, 50% by 2005, and 75% by 2008. Paint companies not complying with the regulation are fined.

A non-profit industry organization called "Eco-Peinture" is structured like British Columbia's paint program and manages paint and paint can recovery on behalf of Quebec's paint manufacturers and brand owners.

The collection infrastructure is a combination of retail take-back and municipal drop-off centers. About 70% of the paint and containers collected comes from municipal programs and 30% comes from collection through retailers.

Most of the paint collected is processed for sale as used paint, or is used as raw material to make paint from recycled content. Peintures Recuperées, the processing plant in Victoriaville, is a non-profit organization in charge of recovering and recycling paint and containers collected through the paint program.

The residues are converted into the raw materials used in the composition of the recycled paint produced by Laurentide reSources inc. and marketed under the Boomerang name.

Steel paint cans are recovered, pressed and shipped to a foundry. Materials that cannot be processed, such as adhesives, strippers and cement, are removed from the sorting line and shipped to companies that specialize in eliminating them.

In 2009, over 6,000 tons of paint and containers were recovered through the program.

Nova Scotia

The Nova Scotia paint recycling program started June 1, 2002. A partnership between the province and the paint industry allows residents to return leftover paint to any of the province's Enviro-Depots at no charge.

Nova Scotia's 83 Enviro-Depots are the collection points for their beverage container deposit program, as well as for cardboard, newsprint, car batteries, and now, paint.

Nova Scotians buy close to three million containers of paint every year. About 25 per cent goes unused. In fact, the leftover paint generated each year in the province is enough to paint the insides of roughly 6,600 two-storey houses.

The Nova Scotia paint program fees are as follows:

100 ml to 250 ml 0.10
251 ml to 1 litre 0.25
1.01 litres to 5 litres 0.50
5.01 litres to 23 litres 1.00
Aerosol paint (any size) 0.10

All fees are remitted to RRFB (Resource Recovery Fund Board Inc) Nova Scotia, the provincial agency responsible for establishing industry stewardship programs. As the program administrator, RRFB Nova Scotia oversees the handling, transportation and recycling of all post-consumer paints and stains collected through its network of Enviro-Depots.

See the RRFB website.


Alberta's paint recycling program launched in October, 2007, as part of the "Too Good to Waste" initiative. Albertans purchase over 30 million litres of paint, stain and related products each year, and as much as 5 to 10 percent goes unused.

But Albertans have responded well to the program. Since April 2008, over 9 million litres of waste paint (or 5000 tonnes) have been collected and processed. More than 75% of waste paint being returned is recycled into new products.

As with the many of the other programs, a recycling fee is included at point of purchase. Alberta's fees are as follows:

Unpressurized paint containers:  
100 ml to 250 ml $0.10
251 ml to 1 L $0.25
1.01 L to 5 L $0.75
5.01 L to 23 L $2.00
Aerosol paint containers all sizes $0.10
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New Brunswick

Recycle New Brunswick, a government agency, approved a 3-year program commencing April 1, 2009, under the management of  ReGeneration. Paint can be dropped off at depots across the province. Many locations also offer a "paint exchange".

Once the paint has been dropped off, it is sent to a paint recycling company in Nova Scotia for sorting. Once the paint has been sorted by type and colour, it is sent to a paint manufacturer in Victoriaville, Que., which processes the paint into a new product.

Fees are as follows:

100 ml to 250 ml 0.20
251 ml to 1 litre 0.35
1.01 litres to 5 litres 0.70
5.01 litres to 23 litres 1.50
Aerosol paint (any size) 0.20



Ontario's paint program was established in 2008, and falls under the auspices of Stewardship Ontario's Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste (MHSW) program.

In some cases, fees are added to the price of products at checkout. Brand owners may choose to pass the cost of programs on to retailers, who, in turn, may choose to show a fee separately at point of sale. These fees -- sometimes referred to as eco-fees -- are used exclusively to pay for operating the MHSW program, including collection, transportation, reuse and recycling, processing, research and development and consumer education. The fee is not a tax and none of the funds collected go to government.

Paint is collected at both municipal and commercial depots free of charge. Collected paint is recycled into new paint when possible.

See Stewardship Ontario's website for more information.

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Newfoundland and Labrador Paint Recycling Program was announced on May 2, 2012. Leftover paint collected at 25 depots throughout the province will be recycled into new paint. Some of the collection sites will offer paint exchanges.

The program is being managed by ReGeneration. Fees are as follows:

250 ml or less 30 cents
251 ml to 1 litre 50 cents
1.01 litres to 5 litres $1.10
5.01 litres to 23 litres $2.50
aerosol paint (all sizes)

30 cents

Prince Edward Island

PEI's program, also managed by ReGeneration, went into effect Sept. 1, 2012. There are 6 drop-off points across the island.

PEI's fees are:

250 ml or less 25 cents
251 ml to 1 litre 50 cents
1.01 litres to 5 litres $1.00 
5.01 litres to 23 litres $1.95
aerosol paint (all sizes) 30 cents
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Manitoba's paint program (part of a larger Household Hazardous Waste program) is also managed by ReGeneration, and went into effect in May 1, 2012. There are 45 collection depots across the province for the HHW program, 42 of which accept paint.

Their fees are:

250 ml or less 20 cents
251 ml to 1 litre 25 cents
1.01 litres to 5 litres 60 cents
5.01 litres to 23 litres $1.50
aerosol paint (all sizes) 25 cents


RONA extends paint program to Western Canada

Home improvement retailer RONA has extended its used paint recovery program to Western Canada. The program was pioneered in Quebec in 1997 and extended to Ontario in 2010. Consumers in Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC may now drop off cans of any brand of old or unused paint at any RONA Building Supplies store. One hundred percent of returned paint is recycled into new paint, according to a company statement.

[Source: Recycling Canada in August 2011 WasteWatch]