As a Sustainable Interior Consultant and Manager of the International Green Interior Awards, I always choose paints that truly minimise the levels of VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) as they are much healthier for people than standard paints. There is one paint company that has been conscious about having a positive affect since the 1960s, that company is Resene.
Lee Pomfret from Resene responded to my three key questions.
1. How does Resene’s environmental standards compare to other paint companies?
Resene has always been keenly aware of the need to reduce the risk products may present to customers and the environment, long before it became fashionable. Not only did the basic innovation of Resene waterborne paints reduce the level of toxic solvents, but other steps such as the removal of lead from Resene decorative paints in the late 1960s have been well ahead of their time. As paint ingredients have become identified as causing concerns for health, Resene has always immediately put into place research to identify safer paint ingredients.
Resene's introduction of waterborne enamels in 1996 - Resene Enamacryl and Resene Lustacryl - was a breakthrough offering a viable alternative to solventborne products. And customers clearly agreed - less than five years later, Resene Enamacryl and Resene Lustacryl easily outsold their solventborne equivalents. The waterborne enamel range has now been extended to include Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen and Resene SpaceCote Flat for interior use on broadwall, wet areas and trim and joinery.
Focused research and development has led to low odour Resene Zylone Sheen being launched in a VOC free version, Resene Zylone Sheen VOC Free, providing all the benefits of the popular Resene Zylone Sheen with no added VOCs. And with the introduction of Resene non VOC machine colourants, colours can be tinted into an extensive range of Resene decorative products without the addition of unwanted VOCs.
In 1996, just 8% of the decorative paint sold by Resene was solventborne compared to 20% for other major paint companies, while the average per litre VOC levels of Resene decorative paint sales have dropped by over 90% in the last two decades, clearly demonstrating Resene s commitment to proactively develop and launch environmentally preferable waterborne technologies to the market.
Resene’s premium wall coating Zylone has just been awarded 1st Place in the 2016 Choice awards for interior paints, against some 25 competitive products.
2. Is industry and community being educated the right way about the choosing environmentally friendly paints?
Today’s consumer – whether commercial developer or household owner – has a high level of awareness of, and expectation for the delivery of environmentally friendly products. The paint industry is only one player in the overall construction and building industry, with the same quality expectation flowing across all channels.
In a competitive sales environment, all paint companies are fully aware of their consumer’s need for easily accessible and comparable information regarding their products, and all subsequently place a high priority on delivering a clear information package to their customers.
The push for a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle in general places a higher level of scrutiny on all of our living, working and recreational buildings and structures. In general, we deal with an educated consumer in today’s world who has high quality expectations of the products they are using, which in turn creates a manufacturing market highly attuned to the delivery of both the product, and the ongoing message.
3. What is Resene doing to help break down the barriers towards an industry and community that only uses environmentally friendly paints?
Resene has been a leader and innovator in focusing on an environmentally friendly product portfolio since the 1990’s, but has also been at the forefront of many additional programs in both New Zealand and Australia which reinforce a sustainability message to consumers. These include the Paintwise (NZ) and Paintback (Australia) paint and packaging recycling initiatives, the EcoDecorator program in NZ which promotes environmentally aware tradesmen, clear and prominent marketing of the benefits of Low VOC and environmentally friendly products, and the application of ongoing resource to product research and development programs driving further “green” innovation.
I would like to thank Lee from Resene for responding so informatively and for being sponsors of our 4th International Green Interior Awards.