Whether it’s a fall clean-up or a complete remodel, you might find yourself with gallons of extra paint.  Luckily, Lexington’s own ReStore offers a novel paint recycling program as an alternative to the landfill or an overstuffed garage.

The only program of its kind in Lexington, ReStore’s paint recycling program is in its 188th batch; meaning that nearly 10,400 gallons of paint have been saved from the landfill according to Deconstruction Project Manager, Michael Frey.

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(Pictured to the left:  Michael Frey and Katie Clay)

The paint recycling program was started in 2010 when staff noticed gallons of partially-full donated gallons of paint were not selling and they were starting to amass quite a collection.

“Why not consolidate it?” they thought.  Initial attempts at mixing were focused on keeping like finishes together- satins with satins, flats with flats.  Today, paints are mixed by similar colors and the end product retains a mostly satin finish, which is water resistant and easy to clean.  Landlords, some of the paint recycling program’s most devoted customers, love the quality of the paint.  Katie Clay, a ReStore employee, shared her own personal experience, “I used two coats in my living room and it was a really nice light blue-green color.”

The paint recycling program is part of ReStore’s larger Deconstruction Program which also salvages construction materials on-site and collects scrap metals. Full and part-time employees churn out roughly two batches a week, which is roughly 100 gallons of paint that becomes recycled product. Two, 55 gallon barrels serve as the site of mixing and filtering. Batches are poured into 5 gallon buckets that sell for $35 each, complete with “home brewed” in Lexington labels created by another local business, Bullhorn Creative. White and off-white have proven the best-selling colors so far.

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Jake Brown (left) and Tatum Lewis (right) demonstrate the recycling process.

Volunteers can also get in on the fun. University of Kentucky student groups, schools, and environmental groups have created their own paint batches, complete with catchy names. “Blue Your Mind,” “OMGreen,” “Pretty in Purplish,” “A-maize-ing Yellow,” and “Check me out, I’m Buff” are just a few of the gems.  While seemingly unappealing, “The Milk’s Gone Bad,” a grayish-white turned out to be a great seller. One group from the County Attorney’s Office spent a day moving furniture only to return for an afternoon of paint mixing. Their color creation? “Prosecutor Purple,” of course. “Volunteers are welcome and it doesn’t take a lot of training” says Michael. “A group of six volunteers can create a barrel of paint in around four hours.” School children aged 16 and over can volunteer with an adult 18 or older to operate the mixing drill.


Checklist for recycling your paint at ReStore:

  • It must have been made between 1994-present.
  • It has never been frozen.
  • Paint must be in its original container.
  • It must be latex. (Non-latex or other paints not accepted by ReStore can be made landfill-ready by adding cat litter, dirt, paint thickening crystals, or sawdust. Place beside the Herbie with the lid loosely attached on collection day.)

To set up volunteer visits, contact the ReStore Volunteer Coordinator Catherine Trout at catherinet@lexhabitat.org or call 859-252-2224, ext-150.