Is this the straw that breaks the camels back, or a necessary program that can help our planet? A new fee that many Hudson Valley residents have begun noticing on their receipts have some shoppers up in arms, while other are applauding the the recent initiative.

New York's PaintCare Recovery Fee

"Does anybody know about this fee?" began a recent post in a local Hudson Valley Facebook group. The Highland woman was referring to a "NY PaintCare Recovery Fee" that was added to her paint purchase. For many, it caused a knee-jerk reaction.

Collage_Best via Canva
Collage_Best via Canva

Dumb Fee or Great Idea?

"Another STUPID fee", complained one commenter. "Just another way to rob the public fee after fee", lamented another. The fee, however, isn't an arbitrary charge. It's all part of a new program that aims to keep paint cans out of our landfills and give leftover paint a new life.

New York is one of 11 states accepting paint through the PaintCare program (
New York is one of 11 states accepting paint through the PaintCare program (

Paint Recycling in New York

The program, called PaintCare, launched in May of 2022 with a mission to "make it easy and safe to recycle leftover paint". The nonprofit company provides drop-off locations for New York residents to dispose of their used paint cans, even if there's still paint inside. The best part is that the program is free... sort of.

Breaking Down the PaintCare Fees

It's free to drop off paint because everyone chips in when they but new paint (thus the "NY Paintcare Recovery Fee" you will find on your next paint receipt). Charges range from no charge for half pint or less, 45 cents for pain cans between a pint and a gallon, 95 cents for one to two gallons, and $1.95 for containers between two and five gallons.

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Not only is the container recycled, but the leftover paint is reused too, up to 70% of what's left in the can. You can find your nearest paint drop-off location here, or you can return it to a participating retailer.

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