SPRINGFIELD | Illinois taxpayers could soon be feeling a little blue when they go to the home improvement store for a can of paint.
Under legislation scheduled to be debated early next month, Illinois could tack a new fee on the cost of paint in order to pay for a paint recycling program.
The proposal, similar to recycling fees added to products like tires and car batteries, is aimed at keeping paint out of landfills.
Similar programs are already operating in a handful of states as part of an initiative by the American Coatings Association, which lobbies on behalf of paint manufacturers.
The organization formed a not-for-profit group called PaintCare, which has been charged with running paint recycling programs in California, Oregon, Connecticut, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Vermont.
While Illinois’ legislation doesn’t specify the amount of the additional fee, laws in California and Oregon have set the amount at about 75 cents per gallon.
The proceeds are then used to establish places where people can drop off unused paint. In Oregon, which was the first state to launch a paint recycling program, the goal if for 95 percent of Oregonians to live within 15 miles of a recycling depot.
Paul Fresina, senior director of operations and communications at PaintCare, said there have been some initial complaints about the added fee in states where it has been launched.
“It usually lasts for a few months. But, once people understand it, the average person thinks it makes sense,” Fresina said.
Andrew Mason, spokesman for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, said there wasn’t a consensus on the issue during the spring legislative session. A Nov. 4 hearing is designed to get the conversation going again, he said.
For now, he said state environmental regulators are neutral on the measure because there are some outstanding questions that must be answered, including who would regulate the program and who would administer it.
If approved, the new fee is not expected to go into effect until early 2015.
The legislation is House Bill 2274 and Senate Bill 1705.