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SPRINGFIELD – Many homeowners have something lurking in their basement or garage that could be disposed of, but there hasn’t been a means to get rid of it safely: unused household paint. A new initiative sponsored by State Senator Linda Holmes would establish a program to dispose of household paint, and the legislation passed Thursday in the Senate.

The Paint Stewardship Act in Senate Bill 836 creates a means for consumers to dispose of household paint in Illinois. No state resources are in place today to deal with this waste. Under this law, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency will use PaintCare, a nonprofit organization that operates the post-consumer program with paint manufacturers to run the process and provide convenient, free dropoff sites statewide.

“It is exciting to offer this prospective service to Illinoisans with old paint taking up space in their homes,” Holmes (D-Aurora) said. “To get rid of it in an environmentally safe manner will give us an opportunity to make our state’s soil and water cleaner for our children and to safely produce our crops to feed the state and nation.”

Under this program, paint manufacturers are required to submit a plan and pay a fee to the Illinois EPA to stand up a paint collection site, service or event, which will allow residents to drop off unused paint to specified locations free of charge. Those collection sites or events will be within a 15 mile radius for 90% of Illinois residents.

“Consumers will now have the opportunity to declutter their homes of old paint and feel confident that their waste is being recycled and disposed of in an environmentally sustainable way,” Holmes said.

PaintCare operates similar programs in several other states with paint stewardship laws, including California, Minnesota, Colorado and New York. They have collected 62.6 million gallons of paint.

Having been approved by the full Senate, Senate Bill 836 will now go to the House for their consideration.