When Charlie Schneiderwind got home from the home improvement store and looked at his receipt, he was surprised to see that the paint he bought came with an additional fee outside of the paint's cost and tax.

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On May 1, 2022, a new fee was very quietly added to the cost of paint in the state of New York as part of something called the PaintCare Fee. This fee is not a tax, so it doesn’t benefit the state and it is not a deposit which means consumers don’t get it back when they drop off any unused paint. Instead, the fee helps to fund all aspects of the relatively new "paint stewardship program."

In 2019, the New York State Legislature passed a paint stewardship law to ensure that unwanted paint is minimized, reused, and recycled. Oversight of the paint stewardship program is overseen by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

The fee collected from each purchased can of paint is used toward the collection of unused paint, transporting and recycling of unused paint, public outreach, program administration, and the management of what is called “legacy” paint materials which is paint that has been sitting unused in homes and businesses since before the PaintCare program was launched.

The fees for paint are as follows: any paint larger than half a pint up to smaller than a gallon will be charged an extra 45 cents. One gallon to two gallons will come with an additional fee of 95 cents, and anything larger than two gallons up to five gallons will come with a fee of $1.95.

Unwanted paint can be dropped off at designated PaintCare drop-offs which locally are located at Sherwin Williams in Vestal, Sherwin Williams in Binghamton, Greene’s Ace Home Center in Whitney Pont, Sherwin Williams in Norwich, and Otsego ReUse Center in Oneonta. You can see all drop-off locations in New York here.

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