Paints and Wood Treatments


Kind to the planet and your health – the energy benefits of green products will increase your home’s eco credentials

There are many negative things to be said against the environmental effects of mainstream paints and wood treatments. Many are oil based and contain synthetic chemicals which, basically, makes them hard to dispose of. Moreover, some of the processes involved in their manufacture create up to 10 tonnes of waste for every one tonne produced. And then you need to consider the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) they give off: these pollute the air and can be extremely bad for your health.

Today, many mainstream paints are changing for the better thanks to European legislation and greater public awareness of VOCs, to say nothing of the growing band of green paints that largely consist of naturally occurring ingredients. These tend to be water based, with minimal or no petrochemical elements.



  • Green paints are better for the environment and better for your health.

  • An expanding sector with many brands to choose from: so much so that your decorator won’t think you weird if you specify them.


  • Very, very expensive compared to the bog standards: expect to pay 10 to 15 per cent extra for

    a masonry paint; and up to 40 per cent for gloss. Purity sometimes comes at the cost of performance.

  • It’s difficult to find really bright colours that are genuinely eco friendly.

  • Some paints are much greener than others: one mainstream manufacturer, for example, has reduced the carbon emissions involved in the manufacture of some of its paints, but is less clear about the synthetic chemicals and petroleum derivatives used in its range of products.


Useful Contacts

The Green Shop:
Mike Wye and Associates:
Eco Merchant:
Natural Building Technologies:
Green Spec:


Words: Dominic Murphy Images:

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