Some of the most significant water conservation efforts can be made by reducing waste. Waste can occur at any stage of a project. Some types of waste are easy to identify, such as a leaking water supply tank or piping system. Other types of waste are less obvious.
For example, the production of latex paint creates waste water that is contaminated with latex particles. This waste water is called “white water” because of the whitish tinge the polymer gives to the water.
By microfiltering the white water, the painting industry can recover latex for re-use in paint, and reduce the amount of latex that is handled by a local waste water treatment plant. If desired, the white water can be re-used in other industries, such as road construction. Diverting the white water from the water treatment cycle reduces the strain on the water treatment system, protects groundwater supplies and replaces potable water used by another industry, thus reducing the strain on drinking water supplies.
Paint can be recycled through a process called consolidation. Post-consumer paint is collected from hazardous waste disposal sites and re-blended. Once the paint has been filtered, it is ready for re-use in a wide variety of projects. The consolidated paint requires less power to make and generates no new VOCs. From a water conservation standpoint, the consolidated paint is good because no new water is used as part of the process.
These are just two ways for the painting industry to help reduce waste water and protect water supplies for the future.