Is Recycled Paint Eco-Friendly?

ECOS 04/15/2024

Did you know that the US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans throw away as much as 69 million gallons of paint each year? That's a lot of waste, so it's no wonder many cities and counties now encourage consumers to recycle their paint. Just like other forms of recycling, this helps divert reusable materials from landfills and helps reduce the use of natural resources to create new products – both of which are clearly better for the planet. But is recycled paint eco-friendly? The short answer is yes. Still, if you're looking to buy it, you might not be getting what you think. 

According to Earth911, "there are two types of recycled paint: re-blended (also called consolidated paint) and re-processed (also called re-manufactured paint). Re-blended paint contains a much higher percentage of recycled paint than re-processed paint. Creating re-blended paint involves mixing several paints together, including various colors and sheens (glossy, eggshell, etc.). The paint is then filtered, packaged and distributed or sold. Re-processed paint results from mixing old paint with new paint and other new materials. The paint is then tested for quality, packaged and distributed or sold."

It's undeniable that diverting this potential waste from the landfill and putting it back into use is a boon for the planet, but what is not achievable is a verified or secure provenance of the ingredients. If the recycled paint contained VOCs, contaminants, or was a mixture of various products poured into different cans, it is impossible to determine what's in the final product. This lack of clarity means that recycled paint bears no comparison with a virgin product whose ingredients are verifiable.

If you're someone concerned with what chemicals are in the products you use, recycled paint is not a good option for you. Instead, choose a product like ECOS Paints, whose ingredients are carefully selected and are clearly displayed on the can. ECOS Paints is also the only paint company to have earned the prestigious 'Declare' label for ingredient transparency. The Declare database is a platform of the Living Building Challenge, which is widely accepted to be the most advanced green building standard in the world!