Like other aspects of green construction, contractors should observe eco-friendly practices and methods even in the simple task of clean-up and waste disposal. In the case of green coating applications, there are many ways to implement the standards of environmental protection. The practices can be summarized in three categories, which are the tenets of sustainability:
Reducing the release of VOCs into the work area, it is good practice to stop using cleaning solvents to immerse paints brushes and other tools in for cleaning. Green coating contractors should use alternative cleaning practices, such as scraping paint off with a metal scraper or a brush spinner. Often, soapy water will do the trick of removing paints from brushes, instead of immersing them in solvents.
To reduce water use, it is also a good idea to store paint rollers and brushes on re-sealable zipper storage containers such as a Ziploc bag. When stored in this manner, the tools can be used the following day without prior cleaning.
Some green coating professionals recommend the use of paint rollers that can scrape extra paint back into the can during clean-up time. The extra paint can then be reused at the next painting application. In sweeping up the premises of dirt and debris, use a handy broom that can be used on succeeding projects.
Check local building guidelines on waste disposal. Some states require classifying non-green coatings like latex paints as toxic wastes. Recycling facilities can recycle containers into useful products. Another green disposal practice is to donate extra paint to local organizations and schools.