Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley’s ReStore and Northampton County will be debuting the region’s first latex paint recycling program called Re|Mix. It will give Lehigh Valley residents an economical and environmentally-friendly alternative to disposing of unused latex paint as well as purchasing such a product after recycling. Northampton County is supporting Re|Mix with a $35,000 grant to implement the program.
The Re|Mix program will provide a solution to a common problem residents face – not knowing what to do with usable, leftover latex based paint. According to www.Paint.org, an estimated 10 percent of the more than 650 million gallons of architectural paint sold each year in the United States is unused. Post-consumer paint is the largest component of local household hazardous waste collection programs and is costly to manage. Through Re|Mix, the ReStore will hold paint collection events throughout the year at specific locations in Northampton County, where residents can donate leftover latex paint as well as bringing it directly to the ReStore facility in Whitehall. Partnering with The Paint Exchange, LLC of Rockland, MA; the Habitat ReStore will use their process to produce a recycled paint product called reColor from the collected paint. reColor will then be resold to customers of the ReStore. “Habitat’s vision is ‘a world where everyone has a decent place to live’. This does not just mean affordable housing, but should also include the reduction of waste in our community and taking responsibility for properly recycling and re-purposing. This paint recycling program allows us to do just that.” said Deb Cummins, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley. “In addition, we will sell the recycled paint at the ReStore with the profit going back into the important mission of Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley.”
Northampton County provided the funding from a Recycling Sustainability Fee. “We receive hundreds of calls every year regarding the disposal of latex paint”, said John Brown, Northampton County Executive. “This program will provide a convenient and environmentally responsible way for our citizens to dispose of leftover latex paint keeping it out of our landfills and water systems. The effort is the first of its kind in Pennsylvania and will be a model for Habitat ReStores across the country. It’s a win for everyone – our citizens, our environment and Habitat for Humanity.”
About Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley – Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to provide affordable housing for hardworking low-income families. Homeowners commit to 250 hours of “sweat equity” to be eligible for a Habitat home. Partner families repay a no-interest mortgage as part of Habitat’s philosophy of giving potential homeowners a “hand up” instead of a “hand out.” Since 1989, Habitat has built and renovated over 100 homes in Lehigh Valley and has dedicated its 100th home last year.