For nearly 25 years, the Johnson County Household Hazardous Waste facility has collected unwanted latex paint and other household chemicals from Johnson County homes; providing a safe and environmentally friendly option for disposal of these items. In 2018 alone, the facility collected thousands of gallons of latex paint.
To process all of this paint, Johnson County Department of Health and Environment staff verify the paint is still usable, separate it into several different colors, re-blend it, and send it back into the world. A majority of this paint ends up back in the hands of Johnson County residents and organizations, however, some of the paint finds a new home much farther away.
For the past decade, the Johnson County Household Hazardous Waste facility has partnered with a group of passionate residents to send re-blended paint to several communities in Ghana, West Africa. The paint is loaded into shipping containers along with other donations such as school supplies, medical equipment and toothbrushes, and is sent to Ghana, where the paint is used to spruce up houses, community centers and even a school. The Ghana connection for Johnson County was made possible by one of the paint volunteers, George Nkrumah, who is from Ghana as well. George also purchases paint for non-profit use for churches in Ghana.
"It's amazing to think that paint that started out in the basement or garage of a Johnson County, Kansas home has made the 6,000 mile trip to be used again," said Brandon Hearn who oversees the program. "Just this past week, we provided another 500 gallons of paint; from Johnson County to Ghana."
At bargain prices, the regular rate for brown paint is $10, beige and colors are $15, grey and black are $20 and white is $25. The non-profit rate is $5 off those prices except brown and white paint.