How to paint your house the eco-friendly way
If you’re just about to head down to your local hardware store for some painting supplies, stop! We need to talk about how the paint you choose, and the accessories you use can affect your health and in turn, the environment.
Before eco-friendly paints came onto the scene, homeowners and landlords were forced to breathe in toxic fumes that would cause dizziness, headaches and nausea – particularly when painting in a poorly ventilated space.
But now with large companies such as Dulux offering an environmentally friendly range of paint for eco-conscious consumers, amateur and professional painters alike can pursue their paint job without the inevitable feeling of being sick.
What’s the problem with traditional paints?
The easiest way to answer this question is to look at the ingredients listed on your paint can.
When paint is created using volatile organic compounds (or VOCs for short), the substances will evaporate at room temperature, which is why they are so easily inhaled in an enclosed space.
“Ah, but Kitty. I’ll just wear a mask while I paint. Problem sorted!” you might say. Uh-uh. It’s not so simple. What you may not know is that paints which are made using VOCs continue to ‘off-gas’ for years to come.
What does this mean? Serious long-term effects on your health. That’s what.
What’s the alternative?
Now, there are two equally brilliant types of eco-friendly paints on the market, and I implore you to read their labels to find the one you feel suits your painting needs best.
Low VOC paints have smaller amounts of volatile organic compounds than your conventional paints. On the other hand, No VOC paints are just that: completely void of he toxic substances that threaten to cause harm to your health, and are instead created using plant-based ingredients.
Why stick to toxic paints when you can ‘go green’?
Tips to painting sustainably
“Ok, Kitty. You got me. I’ve decided to buy the eco-friendly paints. Now what?” My dear, I’m glad you asked! Here are a few tried and true tips you can use to get your paint job done safely and without harming the environment – all with little to no fuss! (That’s the best part, I say!)
Avoid plastic accessories
Try to avoid purchasing paintbrushes with plastic bristles. Instead, aim for brushes with natural fibres such as bamboo, hair or recycled materials. They feel better, are reusable and won’t add to the growing amount of plastic discarded into the ocean, landfill, roads, paths or parklands each year.
Use No VOC or Low VOC paints and stains
As mentioned, the big brands such as Dulux and Taubmans now make ‘the good stuff’, so ditch the toxic paints and give an eco-friendly mix a go. Your respiratory system will thank you.
Dispose of paint responsibly
Did you know you can dispose of unwanted paint for free at Household Chemical CleanOut events around NSW? Check the Environment NSW website for dates. Alternatively, Paintback can discard of your unused paint and packaging, repurposing them for future use.
Reuse accessories where possible
Take stock of your inventory before heading out to your local paint shop, because if you’ve got the tools and accessories already and they’re all in good nick, there’s no need to contribute to landfill by doubling up on the products.
If you do need to buy new products, make sure you can reuse or at the very least, recycle them.
Donate leftover paint
Ever ended up with a significant amount of paint leftover, but didn’t want it to go to waste? A quick Google search of your local charity or community organisations will provide you with a quick list of websites and phone numbers to contact, should any one of these groups be in need of a tin of paint for their premises.
Going ‘green’ really isn’t the ‘woo woo’ experience some people make it out to be. It’s all just about being cautious of the toxins you’re breathing in, and aware of the materials you’re using and how they can affect the environment on a grand scale.