First recycled paint to be sold in Connecticut
DANBURY — Residents can now buy recycled paint for the first time in Connecticut — but they’ll have to travel to Danbury to get it.
The new paint is created by MXI Environmental Services using paint collected in Connecticut. The Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Danbury is currently the only place where the paint can be purchased in the state.
“These are the types of stewardship programs we need more of and Connecticut has been a leader of that,” said Rob Klee, commissioner of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
The recycled paint stems from a law that was passed in 2011 and established a paint stewardship program two years later. Under that program, 72 cents was added to every gallon of paint sold that then allowed unwanted and leftover paint to be recycled for free at 146 collection points across the state. Most of these sites are at paint and hardware stores.
Paint is also collected at local household hazardous waste events. That’s where the paint MXI Environmental Services, the contracted household hazardous waste vendor for western Connecticut, collected its paint for the new product.
Nearly 17,000 gallons of paint were collected at household hazardous waste events the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority held last year, said Jennifer Heaton-Jones, the authority’s executive director. The authority covers 11 towns in the Danbury area.
She credited state Sen. Craig Miner for his work in helping the first legislation pass. Miner also unsuccessfully introduced a bill that would require paint sold in Connecticut be made with recycled product.
“My thought was when I bring a can to be recycled, I hope it can return in some fashion that we can reuse,” said Miner, whose district includes New Milford and Kent. “Until now, that was only a thought.”
MXI, which is based in Virginia, collects the paint and separates it by color and base. It is then re-blended and made into the new paint. The wall paint, Full Circle, is made of 99 percent recycled material and Old Man Potter, the furniture chalk paint, is made of more than 95 percent recycled material.
So far, the company has a gray and a tan option available for wall paint because that is the highest volume of paint collected. It also has three colors for the furniture chalk paint. More colors are expected for both, said Craig Potter, MXI’s vice president.
Potter said he likes how the furniture paint can be used to help reuse other items, such as furniture. He had an end table he picked up on the side of the road that he re-painted and distressed on display.
“Old Man Potter isn’t only recycled itself, but it can take something most people consider junk and turn it into a shabby chic item,” he said.
So far, the MXI paint is only sold stateside in Connecticut and Raleigh, N.C. They have 1,000 gallons of each color already prepared.
This recycled paint is seen as a necessary way to close the recycling loop, by reusing materials and not have to take them out of the ground to make more paint.
“This is very important,” Heaton-Jones said.
Several officials applauded the partnership with Habitat for Humanity, which focuses on reusing materials as well, at an event held Friday to unveil the product.
John Gonski, a member of the Housatonic Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors, said the sale of the paint at the store will help fund its building projects, its brush with kindness program and administrative costs.
Klee said he would like to see the sale of recycled paint expand and saw the partnership with Habitat for Humanity as a possible way to do that. He said both programs’ missions are similar. Every little thing people do to help the planet adds up, whether it’s recycling, composting or using electric vehicles, he added.
“The decisions we’re making now and the things we’re doing for the planet now have that inter-generational impact,” he said.