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Environmentally-friendly paints for a healthier & non-toxic home {Brands Guide}

Sustainable interior paints to re-decorate & re-style your home (without the nasties)

Brush up your home with paints that are more environmental and health-friendly. Reality is that the air we breathe indoors, right at home,  isn’t always safe. Toxic interior paints are one of the first elements we should remove to transform our space into a truly healthy sanctuary.

The color of your house is one of the key elements that make it look sophisticated, and for which we spend days looking into various samples, researching the perfect match. But are we aware that some of the paints marketed have harmful elements which can cause serious health problems? 

So, among the hundreds of brands you’ll have to choose from in a store, selecting the eco-friendly one is the best option to protect your and your family’s health along with the environment. 

What’s the problem with regular paints?

Paints can not only affect your interior design or your mood, but paint products can also have a significant impact on the environment and health throughout their lifecycle. 

Years ago, paints were made with lead, a highly toxic material used as a pigment and drying agent. But those days are long gone. Now, we have many different options of paints in the market produced with diverse components and techniques. But, unfortunately, none of those are created equally. 

Today, many paints are made with toxic materials, which can affect the environment equally by releasing harmful substances during manufacture, applying the paint, and disposing of the unused paints. 

Many paints contain toxic metals, planet-damaging solvents, carcinogenic additives such as biocides, surfactants, defoamers, and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which contribute to environmental damages and health issues. 

The good news is there are many alternatives for these toxic materials, which are easily available in the market with a wide range of colors nowadays. So doing a little research before you decide to color coat your house and buying genuine eco-friendly paint substitutes will reduce dangers to human and planetary health. 

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What are VOCs?

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are the toxic fumes emitted by conventional oil-based and other petroleum-based paints. These can cause a range of health problems like headaches, eye irritation, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. 

Long-term exposure can lead to more serious health problems such as central nervous system, liver, and kidney damage. The most alarming part is that VOCs can be released into the atmosphere for up to five years after application.

Things You Should Consider When Looking for Eco-Friendly Paint  

Eco-friendly paints are available almost everywhere in the world. Major brands like Dulux, Crown, Resene, etc., have extensive eco-friendly lines. Even the regular lines have lower levels of VOCs nowadays than they used to. 

But if you are someone who wants more than just an ‘ok’ on eco-credentials, then you can look out for the following while searching for a paint: 

Ultra-Low or Zero VOCs:

Eco-friendly paints aren’t supposed to contain any VOCs in them. But if any trace level is found, remember that it must be less than 5g of VOC per liter.

Don’t Compromise on Other Nasties:

VOCs aren’t the only harmful thing paints contain. Other toxins like acrylic softeners, ammonia, and formaldehyde may still be present in a seemingly green paint tin. Check the level to confirm what it is made of.

Look for Green Certifications:

Check for green certification from recognized authorities of various countries. EU Ecolabel for the European Union, The Environmental Choice New Zealand (ECNZ), Greenseal for the US and Good Environment Choice Australia (GCEA), and the Australian Paint Approval Scheme (APAS) for Australia. 

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Best brands for eco-friendly & non-toxic paints for a colorful home

USA

BioShield: These paints are made primarily from naturally-derived raw materials, including citrus peel extracts, essential oils, seed oils, tree resins, inert mineral fillers, tree and bee waxes, lead-free dryers, and natural pigments.

The Real Milk Paint Co.: These paints are made from organic milk protein. It is a healthier alternative than water-based latex or oil-based paint. Non-VOC, odorless with many color options including customizable loose pigments, the best option for money!

UK and EU

Graphenstone: Not only is this paint free of VOCs, but it also absorbs the CO2 from the air with the organic lime used in the formula. Even the pots of these paints are hundred percent recyclable. 

Little Greene: These water and oil-based paints carry the industry’s lowest eco-rating, with almost zero VOCs. In addition, the tins are made using 50 percent steel and can be recycled. 

New Zealand 

PaintPlus: The low odor, low VOC paints are carbon-neutral and designed to last with uncompromised performance. In addition, the company offers a 10-year guarantee on all its paints.

The Natural Paint Company: They are transparent about their ingredients. No use of chemical toxins or heavy metals. This company also has a policy of protecting the rainforest. 

Australia

Ecolour: These carbon-neutral water-based paints claim to be 100 percent VOC-free. They also recycle and re-refines waste engine oil from over 300 million liters of waste oil annually.

Volvox: These paints are made from clay with minimal odor and permeable finish, resulting in better indoor quality.

Asia

Éico: These paints don’t use any known hazardous materials such as Formaldehyde, Lead, other heavy metals, or APEO. No fossil fuels, solvents used in the production, and use of renewable water as well as packaging that’s 100% recyclable.

Eicó | Eco-friendly paints for a nontoxic home and bright decoration

International

Graphenstone: This international paint company creates naturally sourced lime and ‘graphene technology.’ Graphenstone’s paints are also VOCs, carcinogens, and toxic-free and they also reduce CO2 from the air.

Environmentally-friendly paints for a healthier & non-toxic home {Brands Guide}

Color Wash and Cool Roof Paint

Colorwash

A subtle white-wash effect produced with a suspension of lime or whiting in water is often used to whiten walls, fences, floors, timber, furniture, and other structures. It creates a naturally aged appearance. Resene and Porter’s Paints are well-known manufacturers of colorwash paints. 

Cool Roof Paint

These are special reflective pigments that reflect sunlight. They are designed to reflect up to 90% of the heat away from your roof and keep your house naturally cool. Using these paints can reduce your need for artificial cooling. You will find cool roof paint lines in any well-known brands such as Globalcote or Dulux.

Natural and Plant-Based Paints

Paints made from all-natural products such as egg whites, vinegar, and essential oils are natural and plant-based paints. They contain low or no odor and are generally safe around people with allergies or respiratory conditions. 

They are produced with no carbon emissions, the ingredients are biodegradable, and they create no plastic film. It stops the growth of mold in moist areas. These products are not as hardy as synthetic paints and will take longer to dry when applied to walls. You can look into Bio Products, Murobond, or The Natural Paint Company for natural and plant-based paints. 

How to be Eco-Friendly When Painting

Clean Your Brushes

Rinse the paintbrushes for water-based paints in a bucket of water and tip onto the lawn, do not pour it down the drain. For oil-based paints, use turps and contact your local council to find out about the proper disposal of turps.

Dispose Old Paints and Cans

Paints can be stored for up to 10 years if properly sealed. So, you can hold onto the leftover paints for touch-ups. For disposal of the paint cans, contact your local council and find out about the local collections or recycling stations.

Conclusion

Most paint companies nowadays offer an eco-friendly line. You will find a wide range of shades for this range if you search. So, protect yourself, your family, and the environment from the harmful toxins of regular paints and go green!

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Jared McMillen

Jared spent most of his working life in financial markets. He observed corporations making decisions for profit regardless of the impact on the environment. As these decisions were outside of Jared’s control, he decided to make changes in his own life to help our planet. Since then, he's been spreading the knowledge of how families and households can have a sustainable lifestyle and consume what's best for them.

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