How do you process the collected paint?
After collection and transportation, all donated latex paint goes through a consolidation process. This is where leftover paint that has similar characteristics is combined into batches. The process typically involves the following steps:
- Sort paint based on whether it is oil-based or latex paint. GPC accepts oil-based paint only if it is in a new, unopened, full container.
- Screen and inspect each can of latex paint for unusable paint, including bad or dried-out paint.
- Check labels and sort paint by characteristics such as color and type (for example, interior versus exterior).
- Shake and dump latex paint from the original containers into drums or vats.
- Mix the obtained product, then consolidate the latex paint in five-gallon containers made of plastic fabrics for donation or shipment overseas.
GPC’s process for latex paint involves mixing and re-packaging only. GPC adds water to latex paint as needed for successful consolidation, but otherwise does not add substances to or change the chemistry of latex paint. While GPC checks paint labels and visually inspects the condition of latex paint to screen out any contaminated paint, we do not currently have the funds or resources needed to test for metals, VOC, bacteria or other contaminants. The paint that is simply too bad to use (and metal or plastic containers) are recycled and kept out of landfills. Right now, the processing activities often done by hand, by a handful of volunteers who are 16 years or older. The good news is three great institutions, including students from Georgia Tech, have offered to help design a machine to process the paint. However, the costs vary depending upon our desired methods and technology. Our goal is to raise significant funding to build a plant where we will be able to process 3,000-5,000 gallons of paint a day, creating jobs not just in paint processing, but in transportation and logistics, as well. That would be a dream come true for the Global Paint project.