Wood Dale-based EarthPaint gives back to adults with disabilities, stopping paint waste

ByJohn Owens Localish logo
Tuesday, August 30, 2022
EarthPaint empowers adults with disabilities through job options
A Chicago-area paint recycler is making a difference for adults with disabilities in what it calls "paint with a purpose."

WOOD DALE, Ill. -- Chris McCarthy has worked in the paint business for over 20 years. He was always troubled by the thousands of gallons of paint discarded as waste, where it would eventually pollute the environment.

In 2013, McCarthy founded a nonprofit business called EarthPaint, located in Wood Dale, Illinois. The company collects old paint, which is then recycled and turned into a high-quality product used by both homeowners and professionals alike.

Since its opening, EarthPaint has recycled more than 70 million pounds of paint, diverting more than 670 million pounds of carbon from the atmosphere.

"We call it paint with a purpose," McCarthy said.

What really makes EarthPaint special is its employees. Its entire staff of 14 is comprised of adults with disabilities, something which McCarthy considers as important as EarthPaint's mission to combat global warming.

"We're giving those with special needs real, meaningful work, often for the first time," McCarthy said.

The mission of EarthPaint is embodied by its warehouse manager, Matt Molenkamp, a 26-year-old man with cerebral palsy.

"It's a great opportunity for me," Molenkamp said. "I love this job."

You can find out more about EarthPaint at its website, www.earthpaint.org.