is everywhere – it covers and protects most everything on our planet.
[Think cars, bridges, homes, tech toys, office equipment, planes, etc. –
paint is truly one of the most underrated and unappreciated materials in our world
today.] Due to its overwhelming use, scientists and chemists in the coatings
world are constantly looking to lower the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in
paint to reduce the environmental damage they create.
the early days of paint, products were alkyds. Alkyds were solvent-based
and the formula was usually 20% solid paint and 80% solvents (such as mineral
spirits). Also, paint products were lead-based. Lead is a heavy metal
that was found to be toxic in the 1950’s and was finally banned in 1978.
In fact, our federal government estimates that 25% of the homes in America still
contain hazards from lead paint and related products. Latex paint was created
(using the relatively safe titanium dioxide) and a whole new era for paint was
ushered in. Some of our modern paint formulas contain less than 1% solvent
– and the most common solvent today is water. These innovations led
to the diminishing effects of VOCs.
However, alkyd based and
high VOC products still abound in the paint and faux finishing markets.
When paint dries, the VOCs evaporate and form with the nitrous oxides in the air
to create pollutants such as smog. Inevitably, this forms increased health
risks and overall air quality concerns. Using low/zero VOC products was
a main goal for Garay Artisans when the company started implementing a more eco-friendly
approach to running the business. We started with an energy audit while
putting together additional goals:
green (i.e., recycled, recyclable, refurbished or natural/organic)|
an eco-approach for the office (i.e., Smart Strips, CFL lightbulbs, safer cleaners)|
carbon emissions (carpooling, buying a hybrid company car, buying carbon offsets)|
paper-free (i.e., website instead of brochures, using scrap paper for printing,
creating computer-based files instead of paper files)|
low or zero VOC materials (i.e., water-based, natural and low odor products)|
We are far
from being “green” perfect, but as our company learns more about social
and eco-responsibility, more changes will come. As Ghandi once said, “You
must be the change you wish to see in the world”.
words for a business to live by.