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What Is Sustainable Paint?

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Sustainability is becoming an increasingly used phrase and is something more and more businesses and individuals are taking notice of when buying products of all kinds. In general, society has become more concerned with the ingredients or components used in products, whether or not things come from a renewable source and how to dispose of certain products in a safe way. As a result of this, businesses are now required to become much more transparent about their environmental practices and think of innovative ways to have a better (or lesser) effect on our environment.

The painting and decorating industry is one of the most heavily regulated on safe disposal and product composition. With contractors recommending businesses repaint every 2 – 3 years (1) it is crucial that to ensure your business’s clear conscience you choose a product that is both sustainable for the environment and suitable for your business needs. 

But what does ‘sustainable paint’ really mean?


VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds. VOCs are found in a number of building materials, one of which is commercial and domestic paint. VOCs emit gases that are harmful to both people and the environment. It is not uncommon for high VOC paint to cause dizziness, headaches and asthma flare-ups, which is why they are now regulated to a high degree. Since 2010, paint manufacturers have been required to reduce VOCs below specified limits ensuring products include less harmful chemicals and are therefore better for the environment and the health of anyone using the newly painted facility.

Today, most paint manufacturers offer low or even zero VOC paints which initially seems like a great solution, however many of these ‘zero VOC’ products have significantly reduced performance. A little counterproductive as more paint will be used over time and therefore they cannot be classed as ‘sustainable’. 

Understanding a product’s VOC levels is a big step towards ensuring you are using a sustainable product. At Paintfinity our unique formulae, on average, have 50% less VOCs than legislation allows. 

However, there is more to consider than just the VOCs of the paint you will be using…


Durability needs to be taken into account if you are choosing a paint based on its sustainability.  There is little point in choosing a paint that is twice as environmentally friendly for one application if you end up needing to decorate three times as often - that just defeats the object completely, both in terms of being sustainable for the environment and sustainable for your business.

Because VOC free paints tend to have durability problems once applied, VOCs are a necessary ingredient. The trick is to formulate a paint with minimal VOCs whilst maintaining product performance. Therefore, it is important to ask your paint supplier, or contractor how their ‘sustainable’ paint performs in regards to durability and maintenance to ensure the product really is sustainable.


In order to have a truly ‘sustainable’ product you should also consider how much of the product you are going to use. As a result of taking out many of the harmful chemicals in paint, some products become thinner or more translucent as a result and therefore provide less coverage. Of course, this means you will need to buy more paint and therefore consider the additional time and cost when it comes to needing more coats of paint compared to a product with better coverage.

Making Your Decision

Going back to the original question of this blog ‘What is sustainable paint?’ it is clear that while the ingredients and chemicals used in paint are crucial factors to consider when choosing a sustainable product, it is equally important to think about longevity and performance. Don’t choose a product labelled as ‘sustainable’ or ‘eco-friendly’ that requires you to buy more and buy more often, as that in itself, isn’t sustainable.

Our commitment to sustainability is not confined to our products, it is a core principle of our brand and business. As a certified carbon neutral company, we take environmental sustainability seriously across all our business decisions, allowing you and your business to use less of the world’s resources while also investing in a high quality, durable product. Not only are our products environmentally friendly they are also virtually odourless, are 100% water based pure acrylic and include no nasty solvents or oils, take a look here for more info on Paintfinity product benefits.

Spend less and care more for the environment with Paintfinity’s sustainable paint products. For more information about Paintfinity’s commitment to sustainability, click here. For details about our VOC levels and product performance, click here. If you would like more information on Paintfinity products, or information on how to specify Paintfinity with your decorating contractor, please contact us or get in touch on 01962 711 640 and we would be happy to help.

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