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By Nick Christensen. Bylined writers are Metro staff. Stories with a byline do not necessarily represent the opinions of Metro or the Metro Council. Metro news is committed to transparency, fairness and accuracy.

Miller Paint

From left, Metro deputy chief operating officer Scott Robinson and Metro Councilor Shirley Craddick talk to Miller Paint CEO Steve Dearborn. At right is Jim Quinn, manager of Metro’s Hazardous Waste Program.


For years, Metro’s recycled paint has been the top source of recycled paint in the Portland region.

MetroPaint’s new deal with Miller Paint Company, though, prepares it to lead the way in a broader “region” – the Pacific Northwest.

At a signing ceremony Aug. 15, Miller Paint CEO Steve Dearborn and Metro deputy chief operating officer Scott Robinson inked a deal that guarantees Miller will buy at least 40,000 gallons of recycled paint from Metro each year through 2017.

That means that recycled MetroPaint will be available at 50 Miller Paint outlets, from Ashland to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, as well as at MetroPaint’s Swan Island processing center.

Miller has been retailing MetroPaint since 2009, selling the recycled colors at its outlets as well as some Fred Meyer stores. Jim Quinn, manager of Metro’s Hazardous Waste Program, said the additional availability was key in selling the recycled products.

For MetroPaint’s first 10 years, the paint was only sold at Swan Island.

“We eventually realized that having this one point of sale here wasn’t quite cutting it,” Quinn said. “Now that we’re carrying it for a lot of retail outlets throughout Portland and the Northwest, it has made a difference.”

In some regards, the paint that’s being sold by Miller Paint is on its second go-round in the stores – 19 percent of the paint that comes into MetroPaint for recycling is Miller Paint.

“It’s, first of all, the right thing to do,” said Dearborn, Miller Paint’s CEO. “From our standpoint as a retailer, it’s been a positive addition to our line, and the colors work. For the customers who are looking for recycled paint, it’s been good.”

MetroPaint took in 328,000 gallons of recycled paint in the last fiscal year and sold about 44 percent of that as MetroPaint. Nearly $1 million in paint was sold in the last fiscal year, about a quarter of that through Miller Paint.

More could be distributed, Quinn said, but “to some extent our supply is the limiting factor. Even though we’ve boosted our supply with this new PaintCare system, and the paint is flowing more, there is still a limiting factor for certain colors – white in particular.”

More than 100 hazardous waste collection stations in Oregon send paint to MetroPaint for processing. Quinn said about 15 percent of that is waste that can’t be reprocessed. Another large percentage doesn’t match with any of MetroPaint’s color palette and is sent overseas.

“To be recycling this much paint is amazing,” said Shirley Craddick, a Metro councilor who was at Wednesday’s signing ceremony. “We should be so proud that we’re not taking all this to a landfill, and it can be reused.”

The contract calls for Miller Paint to increase its purchases of MetroPaint to 50,000 gallons by 2017. Metro sells the recycled paint to Miller Paint at about half the consumer retail price.


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