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New laws on the horizon

Both the city of San Francisco and the state of California are often leaders in the environmental movement. Two new laws
go into effect in October that will affect our everyday shopping habits. The City’s groundbreaking plastic bag ban will be expanded to include all retailers, not just large chain stores. And a new California law will require paint retailers to add a stewardship assessment fee to architectural
paint products.

Plastic Bag Ban Ordinance

Plastic bags are a problem. They require dwindling natural resources to produce and create pollution during production as well as in distribution by clogging street drains and sewers and harming marine life. They are also not accepted in curbside recycling programs. Many environmentally savvy shoppers have already made the switch to toting their own reusable bags, which has been practiced in Europe for years.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2012, in addition to the expansion of the plastic bag ban ordinance, all retailers will be required to charge 10 cents for every paper, compostable and reusable bag at the time of checkout. This will help to reduce unnecessary waste and contamination in recycling and compost problems. Dog owners can use plastic bags from newspapers, produce or bread, and compostable bags. At this time restaurants can still use plastic bags, but the ordinance will expand to include them in October 2013.

Paint Stewardship Legislation

The American Coatings Association (ACA) has worked over the last 10 years with various stakeholders interested in managing postconsumer paint to develop and implement an industry-led paint stewardship program in the United States. Paint Care, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, was established by the ACA to implement state-mandated paint stewardship programs on behalf of paint manufacturers in each state that adopts a paint stewardship law.

The state legislature has approved the stewardship plan submitted by Paint Care, and California’s program is slated to begin on Oct. 19, 2012. Paint manufacturers must add a fee to the wholesale price of paint sold in California, which is passed on to retailers, and ultimately to the consumer. The fee will fund the collection, transportation, recycling, and proper disposal of unused paint.

Fees will be based on container size:

½ pint or less  No charge
> ½ pint to < 1 gallon $0.35
1 gallon $0.75
> 1 gal. to 5 gallon $1.60

Many paint retailers will remain or become drop-off sites for unused architectural paints. Architectural paints are defined as interior or exterior coatings, sold in containers of five gallons or less.

Products that are in the drop-off program:

  • Water-based paints: latex, acrylic
  • Oil-based paints: alkyd, enamel
  • Clear coatings: shellac, lacquer, varnish, urethane
  • Primers and undercoats
  • Stains
  • Floor paints and deck coatings
  • Waterproofing sealers and water repellents
  • Field and lawn marking coatings

For further information, to find a participating retailer drop-off site, or for a listing of products that cannot be dropped off, visit Though this legislation adds a small amount to the retail price of paint, it’s a small price to pay to ensure proper paint disposal and to keep it out of the landfill.

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Julia Strzesieski is Cole Hardware’s marketing coordinator. Email [email protected].