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Environmentally Friendly Paints and How the Market is Changing




The paint industry is turning its cogs to produce more environmentally friendly products – so what should consumers look out for and what are the benefits of ‘water-based paints’?

From 1st January 2007, new VOC regulations were introduced in the United Kingdom where manufacturers had to be compliant in their labelling and formulation of Volatile Organic Compound products. Phase II of the new regulations rolled out 1st January 2010, and after that time any non-compliant product could be removed from the market.

VOCs can be found in a wide range of items and sources, from paints to cleaning products, and from furniture polish to vehicle exhausts. They are used, amongst other purposes, to control the drying time of a product and how specific chemicals evaporate. VOCs leave a heavy carbon footprint when emitted from road and aircraft vehicles – accelerating how nitrogen oxide reacts with sunlight to create photochemical smogs, directly impacting the ozone.

Previously market dominant alkyd and oil-based paints have started to be replaced by water-based products. Water-based paints do have a lot of added benefits to the user, as well as to the environment – such as faster drying times, less odour and easier cleaning of application equipment and tools.

Many people are aware of water-based paints hitting more DIY store shelves for basic wall and ceiling paints, but Rawlins Paints, who are one of the UK’s leading industrial paint specialist companies, are distributing heavier duty products that have moved from being oil-based to water-based.

Whilst 50 years ago the market primarily comprised of all-solvent-based paints, today water-based paints now account for 80% of sales in the UK’s residential market. The transition will continue to be ongoing for the industrial sector, where some substrates and processes continue to require specialist epoxy paints. Epoxy paints offer greater levels of chemical resistance for commercial and industrial manufacturing plants.

Water-based gloss paints may once have been the Holy Grail for DIY and home-owner projects, with less odour, and a lower impact on ecosystems, but many users still find solvent-based gloss paints easier to apply in one-coating. As with the transference of use from solvent-based to water-based products, much of the ‘sticking point’ for users is the application method to get the same results as before. Application tools have been designed and upgraded for water-based paints, as well as aerosols and spray equipment. Health and safety measures, along with personal protection must always be adhered to however, regardless of the product.

Advancements in paint technology have seen dramatic and environmentally friendly surges in agricultural water-based paint use and stricter VOC regulations being implemented across the globe. Higher quality water-based paints are being produced for use on flooring, masonry and cladding, as well as for roofs, barns and exterior metal surfaces.

2017 will see manufacturers launching more products into the ever-growing commercial and industrial market that are better for the environment, including product packaging. There will be an increase in water-based epoxy paint for heavier duty needs, as the solvents are essentially replaced with water. Along with this it is expected that sales of thinners and specialist paint preparation and cleaning products will continue to decline, as water-based products can be cleaned and maintained with cold-water.

For specialist needs and at facilities that do require paint coatings to be applied at lower temperatures, or to have faster curing times and added chemical resistance, solvent-based paints are still being manufactured.

Blue and Green Tomorrow will continue to report on the growing trends of environmentally sound decorating, restoration and industrial products through 2017.


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Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness



Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.

While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.

One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move



Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.

6 Tips for a Greener Move

Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.

1. Maximize Each Trip

When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.

If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.

2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep

The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.

3. Reuse Moving Boxes

Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.

4. Get Creative With Packing

Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.

5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies

Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.

6. Forward Your Mail ASAP

Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.

Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful

Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.

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