Spring 2013      |      Stephen P. Sands, Registrar      |      Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor


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Assessments for Lumber, Paint Sales Help Environmental Programs

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As reported in the previous CLC newsletter, fees are now being collected from contractors and the public who buy paint or lumber/engineered wood products, the result of legislation to fund programs that contribute to the safety of California residents.

Retailers and construction contractors who sell lumber and engineered wood products on a retail level began charging a 1 percent tax on all purchases on January 1, 2013, as a result of Assembly Bill 1492. The new law requires the Board of Equalization to collect the assessment for various agencies, including the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) for fire suppression and timber restoration programs.

The assessment for the lumber products must be broken out separately on a bill or receipt, according to the law. The fee applies to a wide array of lumber products, including posts, fencing, particle board, veneer, roofing shakes and wood shingles, and fiberboard. Wood products that are not manufactured, assembled, processed or produced from primary wood products are not subject to the assessment. That includes furniture, paneling, cabinets, millwork, firewood or paper products.

The California Paint Stewardship Program was created by AB 1343 in 2010 to deal with the millions of gallons of paint left over each year in the state. It's a free disposal program intended for both painting contractors and the public, and provides drop-off sites around the state to prevent used paint from collecting in residential garages or warehouses, or being disposed of illegally.

Before the new law was passed, the only way for residents to properly throw away their leftover paint was through local, taxpayer-funded household hazardous waste programs, according to program organizers. Although relatively few used this service, paint represented almost one-third of the material collected through local household waste programs and cost local government millions of dollars to manage.

Since October 2012, those buying paint in the state have paid an assessment to fund the Paint Stewardship Program, which is overseen by CalRecycle. Thirty-five cents is added to the purchase of can of paint from a half-pint in size to less than one gallon. Those buying a gallon pay an extra 75 cents, and the fee is $1.60 for purchase of one to five gallons.

The tax funds a nonprofit group, PaintCare, established by a leading industry group that establishes drop-off locations statewide. More than 350 drop-off sites had been established as of last November; most of them are retail paint stores that accept at least five gallons-some can take up to 20 gallons of unused paint. Local drop-off sites, which are listed on the website, should be contacted about their limits before bringing paint.

The sites will collect latex, enamel, or oil-based paints, primers, sealers, deck coatings, shellacs, varnishes or urethanes, and waterproofing concrete, masonry or wood sealers. Not accepted are paint thinners, aerosol paints in spray cans, auto and marine paints, paint additives or caulks, and industrial coatings. See the program's trade painter website, www.paintcare.org/docs/ca_tradepainters_factsheet.pdf, for the full list.

For businesses with large quantities of post-consumer paint, a direct pick-up service was scheduled to start in 2013. Minimum volumes were to be required; arrangements are to be made through PaintCare.

Fees for the paint disposal program are not required to be listed separately on a customer's receipt, but PaintCare officials are encouraging retailers to do so as an aid in consumer education and for transparency.

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