“Long after the home or business improvement, there can be leftovers that need to be handled with care,” says Ed Gugenheimer, Chief Executive Office of the Alberta Recycling Management Authority (ARMA). “These items can pose environmental and health risks if disposed of improperly so it’s important to provide convenient options for renovation enthusiasts as well as painting professionals.”
In 2008, ARMA launched its Paint and Paint Container Recycling Program. Funded by environmental fees collected at the time of purchase, this initiative helps Albertans recycle in an effective, secure and environmentally friendly manner. Since its inception, the program has continued to evolve and over the last five years, Commercial Paint Roundups have been added into the mix.
“During April to November we encourage paint contractors and businesses in Edmonton and Calgary to bring in their leftover materials for recycling,” says Gugenheimer. “We partner with the city of Calgary and the Edmonton Waste Management Centre to hold monthly events that are broadly advertised within the community using postcards, social media and email campaigns.
The roundups are free and there is no limit to the amount of material that can be dropped off for recycling. More recently, Red Deer was also added into the program, with ARMA promoting quarterly drop offs.
“The goal is to keep these products out of our landfills,” says Gugenheimer. “A typical roundup will collect roughly 9600L of unwanted paint.”
The events provide convenient disposal options for Edmonton, Calgary and Red Deer businesses and commercial painting professionals. While these major centres have ECO stations or Throw n’ Go facilities in place to handle residential paint materials, they don’t accept larger volumes of leftover paint material as it would overwhelm their facilities.
Once collected, the paint flows in a couple of different directions. Oil and solvent based paints are blended and used for heating and energy generation. Latex material that can be re-blended is processed at the ReNue Recycling facility in Calgary. This year ReNue also began hosting Commercial Paint Roundups at their facility; this is in addition to the events hosted by the City of Calgary at Shepard Landfill.
“This innovative Alberta business has been operating since 2019 and to date has developed a line of 14 different colours,” says Gugenheimer. “ReNue paint is suitable for both interior and exterior applications and has a strong overseas appeal as a distinctly Canadian recycled product.”
There’s also value in latex paint that can’t be re-blended. This material gets bulked into totes and drums for use in cement production right here in Alberta. “It’s a great solution on so many levels,” adds Robert Hick, Controller for The Calibre Group, the parent company of ReNue Recycling. “The roundups are helping the professional community to deal with their waste and in doing so, generating feedstocks for innovative Albertan businesses.”