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Recycled Paint FAQs

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Q1. How can you sell your products at such a low price?
Q2. Where do you get you paint from?  Do you remove it from the walls of homes and buildings?
Q3. How do you process collected paint?
Q4. Can your Life-Cycle and Tag-Out paints be applied with a paint sprayer?
Q5. Does your paint offer good application coverage?
Q6. What are VOCs?
Q7. What are current VOC standards and how can Life-Cycle paint still be considered green?
Q8.  Is reprocessed or recycled paint as good as the name brand paints I can buy at major home centers or paint stores?
Q9. How can I figure out how much paint to buy?
Q10. How do I get the best appearance when applying latex semi-gloss paint to interior trim? 



Q1. How can you sell your products at such a low price?

Because we deal in such high volumes of incoming latex paint, we have the ability to process those materials very cost effectively and pass the savings back to our customers. Similar to the concept of recycling aluminum cans, the bulk of the cost was already spent when manufacturing the original virgin paint, but since collected paint only requires reprocessing and some additives, there is a huge saving from making paint from scratch.


Q2. Where do you get you paint from?  Do you remove it from the walls of homes and buildings?

We get that question a lot and no we don't have a crack team of Ninja paint strippers who stealth around at night peeling off paint from local homes and offices.   Since Acrylatex is committed to keeping latex paint out of our landfills, we have established a network of paint distributors, retail stores, painting contractors and Hazardous Household Waste (HHW) site vendors. They provide a safe location to accept their unused, surplus, excess and mistint paints.  We then reprocess all collected latex paint into many renewable products.


Q3. How do you process collected paint?

To insure we only produce high-grade, professional products, we implement several procedures which results in our products meeting or exceeding our customers expectations.  Although each process has a complex set of quality assurance guidelines, let me break down the process with a basic overview.

a.) Paints entering the facility are inspected to ensure only acceptance of water-base latex paints.
b. )Paints are then sorted by color and initially strained into large tanks. Empty cans and pails are crushed or ground-up and shipped to respective material recycling centers.  Paints that are considered as being not suitable for use in our Life-Cycle coating products are turned over to be used in either our asphalt coating or decorative ground cover divisions for further processing.
c.) Paints are then blended to produce one of our standard colors or a custom color requested by the customer.  
d.) The paint is tested for PH, opacity, viscosity, sheen and appropriate additive are included to bring the paint back to industry standards. There are several other steps along the way that include additional filtering, shaking, mixing and more testing after each step.
e.) After final tests are approved, the paint is put into container for sale or transport.  We use 5-gallon pails, 55-gallon drums and 250-gallon totes.
The finished product is professional-grade paints that offer years of long lasting beauty and coverage. 

Q4. Can your Life-Cycle and Tag-Out paints be applied with a paint sprayer?

Absolutely! Our paints are manufactured to strict specifications which also include viscosity specs.  Our paints can be applied with either a brush, roller or paint sprayer equipment as desired.


Q5. Does your paint offer good application coverage?

As with any brand of top quality paint, our reprocessed paints also have great application and coverage which meets or exceeds comparable brand of virgin paint.  Whenever applying any paint over bare wood, new drywall, plaster or masonry, a primer must always be used to insure a good adhesion to the material surface.  


Q6. What are VOCs?

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) refers to organic chemical compounds which have significant vapor pressures which can affect the environment and human health. VOCs are numerous, varied, and ubiquitous. Although VOCs include both man-made and naturally occurring chemical compounds, it is the anthropogenic VOCs that are regulated, especially for indoors where concentrations can be highest. VOCs are typically not acutely toxic but in some rare cases produce chronic effects.

Because the concentrations are usually low and the symptoms slow to develop, analysis of VOCs and their effects is an ongoing process.  Typically the lower the VOC level in paint it will have less of an odor when applying it, but even with higher VOC paints the odor will dissipate within a few hours. 

A major source of man-made VOCs are solvents, especially paints and protective coatings. Solvents are required to spread a protective or decorative film. With approximately 12 billion liters of paint produced annually, new regulations and lower standards are being implemented every year.

Q7. What are current VOC standards and how can Life-Cycle paint still be considered "green"?

Current VOC standards in California are set at 50 grams per liter (50 g/L) for manufacturers of virgin water-base latex paints.  Because we have no control over the paints we collect from our various sources, we are getting paint which maybe one to five years old.  These outdated paints, although in perfect condition, were manufactured prior to current VOC regulations, but because the State encourages the use of recycled latex paint as opposed to placing it into our landfills; theyve set VOC limits for reprocessed paints at much higher level (250 g/L).  Our paints typically fall between 175~225 g/L which is clearly below State standards.

With respect to meeting low or zero VOCs standards for green project applications, our paints cannot meet these standdards  since we cannot control the incoming VOC content in the paints we must accept.  But in terms of keeping thousands of gallons of hazardous waste paint, empty paint cans, plastic paint pails and pallets out of our landfills, we are still considered recycled paint a "green" renewable product.       
NOTE: VOC levels are generally referencing the organic gases released upon application of the paint.   In the case of either low VOC or reprocessed paint, VOC levels are reduced to almost unmeasureable amounts as paint cures within hours after application.  Many of our professional painting customers our customer have told us that our paint with higher VOCs levels out perform just about all of the low VOC paints they have tried and prefer our Life Cycle recycled paint for quality coverage.

 Q8. Is reprocessed or recycled paint as good as the name brand paints I can buy at major home centers or paint stores?

Since we collect hundreds of gallons of paint on a weekly basis, most of the paint we accept is in fact name brand paints.  We receive Sherwin-Williams, Glidden, Behr, Duluxe/ICI, Benjamin Moore, Valspar and many, many other major brands!  Most of these paints are in perfect condition, in fact we also purchase overstock and discontinued virgin paints that are also blended into our recycled Life Cycle paint. So in a sense, you are actually getting the benefits of the name brand paint without the name brand price.

The State of California, as well as Cal Trans and Cal Poly Pomona, have conducted evaluations of various recycled paints on different building locations and have concluded with these findings that have provien the quality and value of reprocessed or recycled paint is as good as virgin paint:
State of California
During fiscal year 2002-03, California state agencies purchased approximately 33,000 gallons of recycled latex paint, approximately 11 percent by volume of all State government paint purchases. Additionally, as noted in the Performance section, a dozen Fair and Exhibition sites in California have successfully used recycled latex paints. 
California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) 
The Caltrans Torrance division uses recycled paint on many different types of surfaces, and reports that the recycled paint is "very user friendly," a "fine product" available in a range of colors, and that they are "very satisfied with the product, not only for the low cost but also for its ability to be applied to many different types of surfaces."
Elk Grove Unified School District (Elk Grove, CA) 
In 2003, the Elk Grove Unified School District used recycled paint on a trial basis at a single middle school. Two years later, the buildings "still look like they were just painted," according to facility and planning staff. The district further stated "we have been so impressed with the paint that we used it for our 2004 Paint Project. We now specify this product in our specifications for new construction and additions." 
Portland Area, Oregon
The Portland Metro Government (known as Metro) has been collecting surplus latex paint from households and businesses since 1992, and now processes more than 100,000 gallons of paint annually. The processed paint is sold as MetroPaint™ (a 100 percent postconsumer recycled latex paint) and it now holds a five percent share of the Portland paint market. The Metro Government building was painted with MetroPaint in the 1990s, and no paint-related problems have been reported.
State of Connecticut
As described in the Performance section of this guide, the State of Connecticut applied recycled latex paint on municipal buildings at eight separate sites in 1997, and in 2001 during a follow-up study, the caretakers of the buildings reported that they were satisfied with using recycled paint to protect the buildings.
State of Minnesota
According to the Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance "several successful demonstration projects around Minnesota have showcased reprocessed recycled paint, proving that it is a recycled product that performs." Two of the demonstration projects are summarized below. 
In 1999, approximately 2,100 gallons of reprocessed latex paint were used to cover 90 percent of the painted surfaces of the University of Minnesota's new, six-floor McNamara Alumni Center. Reprocessed paint was applied on gypsum drywall in office spaces, conference rooms and hallways. When asked about performance, the painting sub-contractors and the university's facility manager said that the reprocessed paint was equal to virgin paint. 
In 1997, Hennepin County used 1,200 gallons of reprocessed paint on its new public works facility in Medina, MN. The reprocessed paint was applied by brush, roller and airless sprayer. According to the president of the painting company, "These products performed comparably with virgin paint products. This product showed that the coverage and viscosity of the recycled products are comparable to virgin latex paint."

Q9. How can I figure out how much paint to buy?

For a smooth surface, most paints will apply at about 350 or 400 square feet per gallon. You need to measure the surface area of the job. Divide the area into rectangular areas and multiply the width times the height to get the area of each rectangle, then add all the areas together.

Divide the total area by 350 to see how many gallons will be needed for each coat. If the surface is rough or porous, the paint will cover at a lower spread rate, such as 175, 200 or 250 square feet per gallon.


Q10. How do I get the best appearance when applying latex semi-gloss paint to interior trim? 

Follow these points:

  • clean and rinse the trim; dull glossy areas with fine sandpaper 
  • apply a latex or alcohol-based or oil-based stain blocking primer 
  • use a top-of-the-line paint 
  • if applying by brush, choose a top quality polyester brush; pre-dampen the brush before using, and remove all excess water 
  • apply the paint in heavy coats; do not brush the paint excessively; do not thin the paint unless necessary 


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