New Brunswick, N.J. Engineers at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, have developed a process to recycle waste latex paint the largest component of household hazardous waste by blending it with common plastics. In laboratory samples, these paint-blended plastics were as good as, and in some cases, superior to the same plastics made without paint.
To advance this promising technology toward commercialization, Rutgers signed a special licensing agreement with Re-Manufacturing Technologies, Inc., a new spinoff of the National Council on Paint Disposition, Inc. That group was formed by a long-time paint dealer and businessman in 2002 to develop a viable approach for reducing the disposal costs and environmental impact of waste paint products.
Many municipalities forbid discarding paint in the trash because its an environmental nuisance it spills from cans that garbage trucks crush, defacing streets and contaminating refuse-handling equipment, said Tom Nosker, professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Rutgers and principal investigator at a university center for advanced polymer materials. Theyve responded by accepting unwanted paint during household hazardous waste recycling days, but then theyre left holding the bag, having to contract for proper waste management at almost $9 per gallon. An effective recycling solution could cut that cost, and possibly even become a money maker.
Nosker noted that unwanted paint has become the largest component of household hazardous waste some 68 million gallons annually. And this doesnt even account for large quantities of paint that commercial painters and retailers dispose because of incorrect tints and inventory miscalculations.
As part of the Rutgers centers ongoing work in plastic recycling, Nosker and postdoctoral research fellow Jennifer Lynch tested the feasibility of blending latex paint solids with two inexpensive and widely available plastics. One is high-dens
Contact: Carl Blesch
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey