Crackdown pending as paint standards get an eco-makeover

New Zealand ecolabel Environmental Choice is planning changes to its specifications for paint, raising the bar in regard to components that can potentially harm humans and the environment, and contribute to global warming.

Environmental Choice general manager Robin Taylor, says: "The great majority of paint brands made and marketed here, and also exported, now have products displaying our seal. Part of our mandate is to motivate manufacturers to keep offering the consumer environmentally better products, so now we are encouraging the paint industry to 'go one better' yet again.”

 It is proposed to significantly tighten the rules relating to volatile organic compounds, especially in interior paints.

Nanotechnology, already in use in the paint industry, is included in the issues for discussion in the upgraded specification, as is the pigmentation in some white paints. The label is also seeking comment on its continuing exclusion of anti-fouling paints and the use of PVC in packaging.

Existing licensees (the companies whose products have passed assessment) will have a year to bring their paints up to the new standard. Meanwhile, Environmental Choice has called for submissions on the changes, which can be downloaded from its website.

“Colmar Brunton tell us that three out of five purchasing decisions are influenced positively when buyers see and recognise the Environmental Choice label, so paint manufacturers have a lot to gain or retain by rising to the challenge of this upcoming revision," says Taylor.