Green Painting Options
better health for you, the painter, and the environment:
You’re wanting to paint that room that’s growing shabbier by the day, or get a professional to do it for you. In a word, what you’re looking for is transformation. But what style of transformation? A quickie - slap a coat on and be done? Or a more thoughtful treatment - perhaps a masterpiece that draws envy from the spirit of Da Vinci?
Okay - something mid-range along that wild continuum.
You choose the color(s), and the sheen. You know you want quality paint, a coating that adheres well and is easy to wash. There are a number of choices you can make that will have an effect on the health of you and your family, as well as the painter (if you’re hiring) and the environment.
Starting with the coating itself, because all synthetic materials gas off, many paints, although dry to touch within an hour or so, will continue to gas of on a molecular level, more or less indefinitely, and certainly for days, or weeks, on a level that can affect those who have to live with it. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. gov’t.), VOCs can cause respiratory, skin and eye irritation; headaches; nausea; muscle weakness; and more serious ailments.
Although the human capacity to cope with foreign materials is quite remarkable, why put your system through the extra strain? For a 3-4 dollars more per gallon, there are now “zero-emission” paints (no VOCs – or volatile organic compounds) on the market. Where feasible (90% of cases), an environmentally conscious painter uses these alternative products for interior applications.
This development is especially beneficial for anyone in the household or workplace who may suffer from environmental effects.
Other considerations for the environment include:
- buying quality tools and materials, vs. cheap throwaway items.
- recycled goods (e.g., drapery material from the local charity thrift store, vs. new canvas drop sheets.
- Care of tools, vs. tossing them out due to neglect. A "five-in-one" and a wire brush, when applied at optimal timing, make great paint extractors for brushes and rollers.
- At the end of the job, using the five-in-one and wire brush to remove maximum paint from the tools means less paint ends up in the environment due to the clean up process.
- There are effective non-toxic alternatives for almost any task, including cleaning solutions and paint removers.
- When finished, you can save leftover paints for a future job. After all, it’s a high quality product. Or think of someone you know who could use it. There are also “free stores” in many neighborhoods where you can leave paint.
- During clean up, use a bucket-collecting process to retain most of the paint residue. Let the paint settle after cleaning tools, then pour off the almost-water, saving the residue at the bottom of the old paint can, or similar receptacle, where it can harden and not end up in ground water.
For more information on green options, enter "green painting in your browser, or visit these links: