Not everybody realizes that where they get their car painted is an important environmental decision. People want shiny, bright cars, but may not realize how adding a coating of paint to the car emits volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) into the air. New technology in paint means that people can get their car painted without releasing 5 pounds of VOCs into the air.
Anybody who has ever painted knows that there are a lot of fumes, spray materials and noxious gasses involved. Auto body shops and collision shops paint a lot. The volatile organic compounds in painting are regulated by many government agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA). The EPA recommends water based paint over solvent based paint because it can reduce VOC’s by up to 90%. That improves the air quality for the workers and the earth.
APB Motors, a Collision Repair Shop in Denver, Colorado works with PPG waterborne paints that use water, not solvent, to carry the paint particles from the spraying machine to the car. Waterborne paints have less odor emissions, less paint particles used, and less flammable paint.
Making and applying paint accounts for about 32% of all VOC emissions. Using a waterborne paint, instead of solvent paint, significantly reduces the impact on the Earth. Solvent based paint consists of about 84% solvent ant 16% solids. Waterborne paint is 70% water, 20% solids and 10% solvents. It produces less VOC’s during both the manufacturing phase and the application phase. The paint is also less flammable due to less solvent.
Waterborne paint is just better for the earth and workers and car owners.
Some states, like California and many on the East Coast have outlawed painting with solvent based paint. Colorado legislature has not outlawed it. It is up to the individual shop and consumer to decide whether to use a solvent based paint or a waterborne paint. Consumers concerned about the environment should ask the paint shop what type of paint is used. Waterborne paint is slightly more expensive, but the high quality and improved
Earth friendly materials makes it worth the few extra dollars to most people.
PPG first introduced waterborne paint in Europe in 1986. Since the early 1990’s Canada and the US started recognizing its superiority and converting to PPG paints. PPG continues to refine their products and the Aquabase®
Plus products currently lead the industry for waterborne paints.
Since colors are better mixed and better matched, less paint is needed to make a car look great. The PPG website states that with the PPG waterborne system, 25% less paint is needed. Reducing the amount of paint needed further reduces environmental impact of painting on the manufacturing side.
However, PPG waterborne paints use different equipment and the technicians need specialized training. Not every collision shop is ready to invest in training and equipment. APB Motors saw converting as a way to lead the way toward healthier business practices.
Another way that APB Motors stays environmentally friendly is through their huge stock yard of quality, used car parts. The volume and diversity of parts gives APB Motors the capability to rebuild vehicles using used and recycled parts. Salvaged vehicles means that less vehicles are filling up the landfill. Vehicle parts in the landfill leak many toxins like lead into the soil.
APB Motors also sells high quality used cars. Buying used is another way to reduce manufacturing impacts on the Earth. Manufacturing fewer cars means less plastic, less metal, and less foam gets manufactured or mined.
Buying a brand new car, even with great gas mileage, may not be as “green” as buying used. Even people wanting a red car, should consider how to get it in the most “green” way possible.