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Minnesota Paint Manufacturer Keeping Landfills Unpainted

June 03, 2009


A Minnesota-based company is taking paint recycling to the next level, turning the contents of half-empty paint cans into high-quality new paint that is Green Seal certified.

Amazon Environmental, Inc. doesn't just take old paint and make sure it gets a proper burial.  Amazon gives it new life.  According to the company website, Amazon Environmental "is the nation’s leading recycler of leftover latex paint. Amazon uses leftover latex paint to manufacture recycled content paint that is comparable in quality to virgin paint sold by national manufacturers."

Amazon sells its paint under the brand name "Amazon Select"--which is certified both by the Master Painters Institute for quality and by Green Seal for environmental safety. 

The company cannot recycle about half the paint it receives--often because it has been "prebulked," with all colors mixed together into 55-gallon drums rather than left in its original containers.  Even that paint doesn't go to waste, however.  Amazon turns it into "processed latex pigment" to be used in making cement. As a result, virtually all of the leftover paint Amazon receives gets reused or repurposed.

A bill approved by the Minnesota legislature could have made Amazon Paint the model for a nationwide paint recycling program.  The bill called for the establishment of a statewide pilot project that would have imposed an assessment of up to 35 cents on each container of paint sold in the state. The money collected would help offset the cost taxpayers now bear for recycling or disposing of paint, including Amazon's fee for taking in paint from household hazardous waste dropoff sites.  The measure, however, was vetoed by Governor Pawlenty.

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Amazon Select is one of several Green Seal Certified paints featured in our Responsible Purchasing Guide for Paint.


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