1000 Flowers for the Planet - #174 Use Green Paint
This Flower was so much harder than I expected it to be. In the past I’ve heard of environmentally friendly paint and thought it was a straight-forward exercise to use a ‘green’ paint. However, there are a great many shades of green. So what is the problem with the paints we’ve been using? They can ‘off gas’ fumes for up to twelve months, and these fumes may cause health issues, such as breathing problems, asthma and allergies. These VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are the main concern in house paints, but when paints are declared completely VOC free that’s not quite the whole story. Measuring standards for how much VOC is in paint varies from one country to another, where some claims that the paint is completely free of VOC actually means the amount is quite small and well below the set standard. Added into the mix of problems is that the base colour may be low VOC or VOC free, but the pigment that is added to achieve that perfect colour you’re after may contain high levels of VOC. It’s all quite complex. A good site to read more is at www.greenpainters.org.au
Using a paint that contains as few chemicals as possible seems to be the way to go. But we must also consider sustainability. Standard paints are oil based which means they use a non-renewable resource and the production process creates a lot of toxic waste that is not biodegradable. Green paints use plant and mineral bases which are renewable resources, and have low VOC levels. So choosing paint because it’s manufactured from renewable resources may be the best way we can decorate our homes at this time.
Further considerations you may like to make are where the paint was manufactured, how many miles it has travelled to reach the end user (i.e. overseas or local manufacturer), how responsible has the manufacturer been in regards to waste and how will you dispose of unused product.
You will need to do some research before choosing the best paint for your circumstances. At this point in time, that’s the best we can do.