More and more people are going green – and we are not talking about paint colours. Sustainable design has been a big top in 2022, and this is a trend people and painters are both equally happy to embrace. But what does eco-friendly painting mean, and how will it affect your next paint job? Let’s explore how painters in Vancouver are working towards a cleaner environment for everyone.
What Makes a Paint Eco-Friendly?
When we talk about eco-friendly paint it covers more than just environmentally sustainable manufacturing processes like water usage and recycling programs – which are essential – but also includes the ingredients used in the paint formula.
You know that smell you get when you open a new can of paint? That odour is filled with various greenhouse gases and other nasty chemicals, aptly referred to as Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs. Exposure to VOCs is potentially harmful to your health, but they also release damaging chemicals into the air. What’s more, these high VOC paints can continue to release pollutants for several years after the paint has been applied.
Traditional paint combines several ingredients, including plasticizers, pigments, adhesives, hardeners, biocides, drying accelerators, and VOC-laden thinners, which help keep the paint liquid before application. Luckily, there are other options for high VOC paints.
Increased consumer awareness and new manufacturing processes have led to a surge of low and zero-VOC paints o the market. Instead of a laundry list of potentially toxic chemicals, these paints incorporate alternative ingredients like milk proteins, clays, balsam, and minerals.
Low and zero-VOC paints must meet strict regulations for VOCs present in the formula; low-VOC paints may contain up to 50g/VOC per litre, while zero or no-VOC paints can contain no more than 5 grams per litre of VOCs.
The Pros and Cons of No and Low-VOC paints
The environmental impact is the most significant benefit of opting for low or no-VOC paint. Without any of the damaging airborne toxins, you can rest assured that you are doing your part for a cleaner, healthier space inside and out.
Pro: Health and safety
There is nothing fresh about that fresh paint smell when you’re talking about paints containing high VOC levels. The off-gassing effect as this paint is applied exposes your family or employees to the harmful effects of VOCs, which may include dizziness, headaches, respiratory issues, and blurry vision.
Long-term exposure to the VOCs contained in the paint may even increase the risk of liver and kidney damage and certain cancers.
Because of the manufacturing process and the materials, low and no-VOC cost more than traditional paints. This price discrepancy might be pretty significant if you are looking at all-natural mineral paints.
Most homeowners and painters in Vancouver believe the higher price is well worth the peace of mind, but if zero-VOC paint is something you are considering, you’ll need to budget accordingly.
There is a reason traditional paints are filled with harmful ingredients and VOCs: they are cheap and work.
While the quality of low and zero-VOC paints has improved dramatically, many do not perform as well as higher VOC paints.
Other Steps Painters in Vancouver are Taking to Go-Green
Eco-friendly paints are not the only way local Vancouver painters are trying to reduce their environmental impact. Waste is a big problem on many job sites, but making conscious choices to reduce waste and limit water usage are helping to solve that problem.
Safe disposal is also crucial. Even the cleanest paint contains chemicals that don’t belong in the environment; water waste needs to be properly disposed of. The same goes for empty paint cans. Paint cans should never be thrown out as trash (and, in Vancouver, it’s against regulation); instead, they need to be taken to a local recycling centre or participating home hardware store.
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