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Rulemaking - Adding Paint to the Universal Waste Regulations

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On December 16, 2019, the Governor signed the Postconsumer Collection Paint Collection Program Law that requires manufacturers of architectural paint to develop a paint recycling program. PaintCare will be the designated representative to implement the paint collection program. The program will allow the public, including businesses, to recycle paint by bringing it to certain locations or, for some businesses, by scheduling bulk pick ups. In some cases, paint may be a hazardous waste (for instance, oil-based paint and varnishes may be ignitable). DEC is actively working to create a state Universal Waste (UW) Rule for paints to facilitate the implementation of the law by allowing paint to be managed as a universal waste. The universal waste rule is a set of reduced requirements for certain commonly-generated hazardous wastes that provides waste-specific management requirements.

Revisions Being Considered for Adoption

Below are the provisions that the DEC is considering adopting as part of the Universal Waste Rule revisions.

6 NYCRR 370.2 - Definitions

DEC is considering adding definitions for "Paint" and "Paint Collection Site" as well as revising existing definitions to the UW regulations:

  • Paint, also referred to as universal waste paint, is defined as architectural paint which means interior and exterior coatings sold in containers of five gallons or less. It includes but is not limited to primers, sealers, resin (single component), lacquers, latex, and water- based paint. It does not include bridge paint, epoxy-based flooring paint, industrial, original equipment or specialty coatings. Also, aerosol paint cans, craft paints, resins, traffic and road marking paints are not in the scope of the NYS law. DEC could adopt a broader definition for the universal waste rule.
  • Paint Collection Site means a small or large quantity universal waste handler that receives universal waste paint from consumers in containers of five (5) gallons or less.
  • Small Quantity Handler of Universal Waste (SQHUW) means a universal waste handler who does not accumulate 5,000 kilograms or more total of universal waste (batteries, pesticides, thermostats, lamps or paint) at any time.
  • Large Quantity Universal Waste Handler (LQUWH) means a universal waste handler who accumulates 5,000 kilograms or more total of universal waste (batteries, pesticides, thermostats, lamps or paint) at any time. This designation as a large quantity handler is retained through the end of the calendar year in which 5,000 kilograms or more total of universal waste is accumulated

Although the new state law only addresses paint waste in 5 gallon or smaller containers, handlers could receive paint in larger containers. (DEC's Universal Waste webpage has more information on general requirements for universal waste handlers.)

6 NYCRR 374-3 - Paint Universal Waste Standards

DEC is considering requiring the following for facilities managing paint as a universal waste:

Container Management

  • Limit collection to containers of 5 gallons or less
  • Keep containers covered at all times
  • Protect containers from sources of heat
  • Storage area inspections
  • Secondary containment requirements, particularly if consolidation is occurring, and at loading and unloading areas.
  • Need a part 364 waste transporter permit when transporting more than 500 lbs. of universal waste paint, similar to existing universal waste transport requirements.

Labeling/ Marking

  • Labeling containers and storage areas to clearly identify paint being managed as universal waste and the associated hazards of the paint (e.g., ignitable)

Accumulation Time Limits

  • May accumulate waste for no longer than one year from the date the universal waste is generated, or received from another handler

Responses to Releases/Spills

  • Must immediately contain all releases of universal waste and other residues from universal waste
  • Must determine whether any material resulting from a release universal waste (including cleanup debris) is hazardous waste, and if so, must manage the hazardous waste in compliance with applicable regulations

Employee Training

  • Must train all employees who handle or have responsibility for managing the universal waste paint

Other Provisions

  • Where handlers can send the paint
  • Which activities will be allowed at the different types of handlers (e.g., sorting, consolidating, recycling)

Request for Comment

DEC is seeking comment on the following questions about the UW Rule Paint rulemaking from the public and the regulated community:

  1. Should DEC require a 50-foot setback storage requirement for off-site facilities that receive ignitable paint?
  2. Which paints should be included in the definition of "universal waste paint"?
    1. Are there any paints in the "DEC may also include" section below that DEC should add to the definition of universal waste paint. If so why?
    2. Are there other paints not on the list that DEC should include? If so, why?

DEC is planning to include exterior and interior architectural coatings:

  • Primers
  • Sealers
  • Resins (single component)
  • Lacquers
  • Latex-based paints
  • Water-based paints
  • Oil-based paints

DEC may also include:

  • Autobody coatings
  • Bridge paints
  • Epoxy-based flooring paints
  • Industrial paints
  • Original equipment or specialty coatings

DEC is NOT including paint-related wastes like:

  • Paint chips
  • Paint thinners
  • Paint-related cleaning solvents
  • Solvent-contaminated rags
  • Paint-contaminated applicators and PPE

DEC is also interested in information, data, and comments about any other issues or concerns with this rule. Please submit all information, data, or comments by:



NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
RCRA Compliance and Technical Support Section
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-7256

For additional information about this rule, please call 518-402-8652.

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