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New Paint Shortage Strategy: Sell Used Paint

With the paint shortage showing no signs of easing, paint manufacturers might have a new idea.

30 March, 2022

Paint Shortage Used Paint


In the latest effort to address the paint shortage, paint manufacturers are launching a massive buyback program to reformulate reclaimed paint. Working with paint recyclers and a new public buyback, manufacturers hope to acquire 4 million cans of “pre-owned” paint. They will then reformulate the paint, resulting in 1 million gallons reaching shelves by July 1.

“It’s not our first choice, and we certainly never studied something like this in business school,“ said one manufacturer, “but it's our best short-term solution.”


Paint Shortage - Recycling Paint


The novel plan will acquire paint from two sources: existing paint recyclers and the general public. First, paint manufacturers will buy “raw paint” from the country’s 4 largest paint recyclers. Raw paint is what recyclers call the paint that they acquire – leftover paint before it’s been consolidated, reformulated and repackaged.

Manufacturers will pay recyclers nearly as much for the “raw paint” as recyclers charge for their finished products. For example, recyclers who charge $35 for a gallon of reformulated paint will receive $28-$30 for their raw paint. One recycler put it this way: “I don’t know how manufacturers can make this work, but who am I to question? They’re paying us good money, and I trust they know what they’re doing.”

The second source of reclaimed paint is the public. The program is called “Bring Out Your Paint!” and manufacturers will pay the public $5-$15 per qualified paint can. Cans must meet three criteria: nearly half-full, less than 5 years old, and a “workable, non-offensive” color.

“As long as the can is half-full, the paint technology remains pretty sound, even after 4-5 years. By ‘sound’ I mean we can revive it. It’s like the Six Million Dollar Man…we can rebuild him,” a manufacturer joked. “The pigments are fine, so when we add solvents and firm up the binders, that’s a damn good gallon of paint.”


Paint Recycling


Gallons of the reformulated paint will be labeled as “Reformulated For You” and carry the following disclaimer: “You’re holding a gallon of American Ingenuity. Brought to you by America’s Paint Manufacturers – and your neighbors – this paint is the solution. We’ve been through a painful period, but it’s nothing a fresh coat of paint can’t solve!”

One paint executive jokingly referred to the program as “Operation Desperation.” That comment drew disapproval from another executive, who said, “No, there’s nothing desperate about this plan. The science is very sound. It’s no different from buying a car with a rebuilt engine. Right? I mean, I would never drive it, but it’s fine for my teenager.”

It should be noted that while this story is not remotely true, it is a total fabrication, and APC does wish you and your crew a healthy and happy April Fools’ Day.


1st Class Painting (not verified)

I wish that I had not just wasted time reading this. I like April's Fools jokes, but did not expect one for ya'll. Especially a long article like this to turn out to be false.

Thu, 03/31/2022 - 22:51 Permalink
Stephanie Barto (not verified)

I read the whole article to my husband. You had us both thinking who is going to buy this paint.
Happy April Fools Day to you as well! LOL!

Fri, 04/01/2022 - 13:24 Permalink
B. Earl (not verified)

You got us, i have plenty of paint to give away. Our county does do this, but they only accept from homeowners, not company's and they do not pay you for it

Fri, 04/01/2022 - 14:51 Permalink
Natural Elemen… (not verified)

Alachua County and the city of gainesville has done this in the past.
Another commercial painter I know did his own using paint for block filler on large projects and for primer or 1st coat where it was appropriate. The "buy back" was the unbelievable part of the joke.

Tue, 04/05/2022 - 09:19 Permalink

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