So you want to paint a few walls in your house, but are wondering how to do it in the most green environmentally friendly way. Interior Decorating can cause a lot of waste and produce harmful vapors, but you can reduce these by examining your options a little closer. Take the simple task of painting a wall, you need a drop cloth to protect your floors and surrounding areas, tape for getting those clean edges, rollers, buckets, trays, etc. Professionals tend to have heavy duty equipment, built for reuse like thick canvas drop cloths and metal trays, but what about for the do it yourselfer who doesn’t have any use for buying these heavy grade materials and doesn’t have the storage for it?
First lets start with the materials. While a canvas drop cloth tarp would be best for large jobs, multiple rooms, or if you have the extra storage; for those one time jobs take a look at the biodegradable Eco Drop floor covering. It works just as those regular plastic drop cloths do, but with a biodegradable twist. Made with renewable and biodegradable vegetable based plastics, these will have a much easier time breaking down over time, and are renewable. At $3, it won’t break the budget and is quite comparable to your plastic alternatives.
When it comes to trays, there are many options. Ideally a reusable metal tray which you could use over and over again would be the most eco friendly solution. However, for those who need a disposal option, the Bio Tray is a biodegradable paint tray made from recycled cardboard with a thin layer of plastic on top (to prevent paint absorption into the cardboard). You can further extend the life of the tray (or swap colors easily) by lining it with aluminum foil for a quick color change and cleanup. Just rinse and recycle the foil when done, or reuse it for another paint job.
Rollers can be a bit more tricky as these are most certainly disposable after a few uses. I try to rinse and squeegee as much paint as I could out of them, but I usually could only get 1-2 more uses out of them before they became patchy and unusable. Now you can be more eco friendly with Whizz Green rollers made with recycled materials.
Paint can be just as if not more important when choosing decorating green. You want to select a paint with low, preferably zero VOC content (check to make sure the pigments don’t contain VOC as well, as this is how several paints that claim no VOCs actually have some). VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds and can lead to Sick Building Syndrome (the building isn’t sick, but it is making you sick). This is what gives off that harsh paint odor and causes headaches when painting and during the drying process. Nowadays these paints are easier to find as most major paint brands have a zero VOC paint available in their line. They tend to be more expensive, but usually are much higher quality, allowing for just a single coat and better coverage (you use much less paint).
You can find most of these products at your local Home Depot or Lowes, and ask your local paint store to stock them if they don’t. You may be able to order them over the web through several green decorating retailers as well. When decorating, if you can’t reuse, then look for items that are recyclable or have recycled content; and if you are going disposible, try and find biodegradable items to stay green.[via daily danny]