HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Starting Monday, Connecticut residents will have more ways to dispose of old paint and unwanted paint cans.
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is beginning a new paint stewardship program, created by legislation in 2011. Residents will be able to drop off unwanted paint cans at participating hardware stores, waste transfer stations and certain municipal household hazardous waste collection locations.
Guilford Sen. Ed Meyer said Connecticut will be the third state to adopt a paint recycling program, following Oregon and California. The program is being funded with a 75-cent surcharge on a gallon of paint.
"The difficulties with disposing of old and unwanted cans of paint will be a thing of the past thanks to this new program," Meyer said in a statement. "The current system for disposing of paint in this state has been overly expensive and environmentally disastrous."
Meyer said he got the idea for the legislation when the Madison/Guilford Transfer Station refused to accept his half-used paint cans. He worked with Guilford Rep. Patricia Widlitz on the legislation.
The Department Energy and Environmental Protection predicted the program will cut emissions from toxic paint fumes by 32 percent statewide and save cities and towns at least $700,000 annually. DEEP recently conducted a survey and found 91 percent of 1,460 respondents have unwanted paint at home. Of those, 65 percent said they have at least five cans.
DEEP estimates there are 320,000 gallons of unwanted paint in the state.