Going Green with Recycled Paint

February 24, 2009

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One of the environment-friendly options that facility managers can adopt for building projects is the use of recycled paint as an alternative to ordinary paints. Recycled paint is a more viable choice because it offers significant cost reductions and decreases the harm done to the environment. Recycled paint also provides the same level of quality finish to buildings as ordinary paints.

Not all paints can be recycled, however. Oil-based paints are not recyclable, but any water-based and latex paint are. Recyclable paints and coatings are either recycled through re-blending or reprocessing methods.

Re-blending is the process of re-mixing the paint and carefully screening the mixture for any hard materials or fragments. If any solid materials exist, these are removed to improve smoothness and consistency of the recycled paint. Because re-blending is a straightforward process of re-combining paints, only neutral-colored paints and coatings undergo re-blending. Because of this limitation, only projects like graffiti removal, exterior painting, or undercoating can use re-blended paints, where the limited colors and aesthetics are not an issue.

Reprocessing, on the other hand, is the process of combining the paint with new additional components. The recycled paint that results through reprocessing is available in a wider choice of tints and therefore can be used for a wider range of applications.

Facility managers often turn to paints and coatings suppliers that have passed certification standards for recycled paints and coatings, such as the certification and testing program offered by the Master Painters Institute for recycled paint manufacturers.

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