Going green isn’t only better for the planet, it’s better for humans, too. Making sustainable choices in your day-to-day life is one of the best things you can do, as an individual, to contribute to the long-term health of the world around you and also to your own health.
The market for eco-friendly paint has exploded in recent years, with large companies like Dulux releasing new lines of environmentally-friendly, eco-conscious paints that are both safe for the home and safe for the planet. So, what steps can you take to make your next painting project as sustainable as possible?
What makes conventional paint harmful?
The problem with most conventional paints lies within their ingredient lists. Traditional paint formulations contain substances that are collectively referred to as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs for short. These substances evaporate at room temperature, meaning that they can be easily inhaled by anyone who comes near them.
Traditional paint formulations often contain high amounts of VOCs, which is why many people experience nausea, dizziness, and headaches when painting in an unventilated space. What’s more is that some VOCs can continue to off-gas for years after they’ve first been released into the air, meaning that they can come with some serious long-term health effects.
In addition to their harmful effects on human health, traditional paint formulations are also harmful to the environment. It’s said that the production of 1 litre of oil-based paint can produce up to 30 litres of toxic waste!
With all of these negative consequences in mind, it’s easy to see why eco-friendly paints and stains are experiencing such a huge surge in popularity. Eco-friendly paints are split up into two distinct categories:
- Low-VOC paints – These paints have lower levels of VOCs than traditional paints;
- No-VOC paints – These paints contain no VOCs at all and are formulated using plant-based ingredients.
It’s important to keep in mind that eco-friendly paints fall on a spectrum; some have more sustainable formulations than others. If you’re looking for some recommendations, it’s always helpful to contact your local painting expert for specialised advice and recommendations.
Sustainability tips for your next painting project
There are small things you can do to make your upcoming painting projects more sustainable and eco-friendly. Some of our best tips to greenify your DIY projects include:
- Using natural paintbrushes and equipment – Most paintbrushes on the market have plastic bristles. Although plastic is a sturdy material, it’s also an energy-intensive material to produce. Worse is that millions of tons of plastic end up in landfills, in oceans, and on roadsides every year. It’s estimated that a whopping 91% of plastic isn’t recycled! By switching to painting equipment that utilises natural fibres such as hair, bamboo, and recycled materials, you can help to conserve energy whilst also reducing the amount of plastic entering landfill. Better yet, sustainable equipment can be reused, so you don’t have to go out and buy a new set of brushes and equipment everytime you need to do a touch up!
- Selecting no-VOC or low-VOC paints and stains – Now that the harmful effects of VOCs have become well-known, it’s easy to find a range of no-VOC and low-VOC paints and stains in the market. Brands like Dulux have come out with multiple lines of eco-paints and stains, which perform equally well as conventional paint formulations–if not better!
- Disposing of paint responsibly – When disposed of incorrectly, hazardous waste can leave a devastating footprint on our ecosystem. Unfortunately, millions of litres of unwanted paint ends up in landfills, oceans, and rivers every year. To reduce the environmental impact of your painting project, take care to dispose of paint, solvents, and stains responsibly. Paintback is an excellent organisation that diverts unwanted paint and packaging from landfills and vital waterways and repurposes them for future use.
- Reusing equipment and paint – We’ve all heard of the phrase ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle’. Although it’s become something of a soundbite, it’s actually a great principle to live by. When you make efforts to reduce the amount of ‘stuff’ you buy and to reuse the things you already own, you can decrease your environmental footprint significantly. When preparing for a painting project, take stock of what you already have and use those items first. Repurposing old items like old towels and shirts and reusing them as furniture covers and rags can also go a long way in reducing the amount of waste you generate. Or, if you don’t want to purchase the materials to do it new yourself, consider hiring a professional who already has all the equipment at the ready and can reuse appropriate items, such as brushes.
- Don’t waste leftover paint or supplies – If you do end up with leftover paint or supplies, see if you can donate it to a local charity or a local community organisation. Many organisations will accept good household paint and home project supplies, so check with your local council to see if they have a list of suggestions.
A few layers of paint can instantly transform any room. Now that there are plenty of eco-friendly painting materials available on the market, it’s easy to reduce the environmental impact of our painting projects.
At Jim’s Painting, we’re committed to moving towards more sustainable, earth-friendly practices, which is why we’re proud to offer a full range of eco-friendly painting services to homes and businesses across Australia. If you’re looking to spruce up your space, get in touch with Jim’s Group today by calling 131 546 or submitting an enquiry online.
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