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The Difference

Our products are fundamentally unique. While there are many “zero VOC” paints, stains and sealers on the market today, Green Planet Paints® is the first to move beyond petrochemical toward a truly sustainable paints and stains based on plant resins and mineral pigments. Making these the only True Zero VOC paint and stain line manufactured today.

To fully appreciate these innovations, a brief review of modern paint and stain and their history is helpful. 

Modern paints:

Modern paints are composed of essentially four ingredients: pigment, binder, solvent and property additives. Pigment provides the color, while the binder is the “glue” that holds everything together. The solvent adjusts the consistency, and the additives improve how the paint mixes and flows. These four types of ingredients combine to create a liquid that can be painted and will adhere to a substrate. For thousands of years paints have been made from a wide variety of natural materials too, such as lime, casein, linseed oil, chalk, clays, minerals and tree resins. Painters of old made their own paint according to local resources and their own knowledge.

Then came petroleum. With the growth of the petrochemical industry after World War II, the milk and plant-based paints common at the time were replaced with synthetic petroleum-based products. Pigments, resins and additives were synthesized in the laboratory and mass produced in factories. Synthetic biocides allowed the easy preservation of the paint in the can, so it could be stored and shipped anywhere. This “new” synthetic paint eventually became the accepted standard for house paint. But as we’ve come to learn, along with the convenience came a number of costs: to human health, planet, and beauty of the finish.

 

  • Human Health. Commercial paints can contain up to 1500 different petrochemicals, many of which are harmful. Most of these chemicals, but not all, are regulated by the EPA using the term VOC (volatile organic compounds.) This definition is somewhat misleading though, as not all harmful paint chemicals fall under the VOC definition. Furthermore, the EPA allows up to 5 mg/liter of VOC’s in the zero VOC rating and this only applies to the base paint; not the colorants used to give the color to a paint base. Colorant lines can be called zero VOC if the VOC levels are below 250 mg/liter. 
  • Plaint. VOCs not only contribute to smog; they are also potent greenhouse gases. With the huge amounts of energy needed to drill, ship, and refine petroleum into components for paint, petroleum-based paints are simply not sustainable.  
  • Beauty. Petroleum-based paints, being synthetic and highly processed, produce colors that lack natural complexity and all too often look and feel “lifeless.”  

Most paint companies, in attempting to “green” their paints, have not focused on the human health aspects, rather just removing or replacing particular additives so as to meet the low and zero VOC criteria mandates established by the EPA. Yet their paints are still petroleum-based, with pigments, binders and additives remaining synthetic. Not to mention that with the exception of clay paints and powder tints, everyone uses the same synthetic petroleum-based tints to color their base paints, which results in VOC’s being added to the paint at enormous amounts when colored. Even though these tints are called zero VOC tints. The truth is, they have to be below 250 g/l to be called zero VOC. I call this extremely high VOC's. We here at GGWP make our own tint systems and we are at truly zero in VOC's and 90% bio content. 

Modern stains:

Modern stains are composed of essentially three or four ingredients depending on if they are solvent based or “water based”: For solvent based there is basically pigment, solvent and property additives and some may have a binder. For water based there is basically pigment, solvent, property additives and a binder. As it applies to both, the pigment provides the color, the solvent adjusts the consistency and provides for substrate penetration, and the additives improve how the stain mixes and flows when used. For the water-based and some solvent stains, the addition of the binder helps hold everything together and provides a sheen once dry.

For thousands of years stains were made from a wide variety of natural materials too, but were limited to things such as linseed oil, tree resins, some plant oils and waxes. Wood workers of old made their own stains according to local resources and their own knowledge.

Then came petroleum. With the growth of the petrochemical industry after World War II, the plant-based stains common at the time were replaced with synthetic petroleum-based products. Pigments, resins and additives were synthesized in the laboratory and mass produced in factories. Over the years synthetic biocides allowed the easy preservation of the water-based stains while in the can, so it could be stored and shipped anywhere. This “new” synthetic stains eventually became the accepted standard for home use. But as we’ve come to learn, much like the paints along with the convenience came a number of costs: to human health, planet, and beauty of the finish. Not to mention that the wood preservation was no longer there as marketed.

 

  • Human Health. Commercial solvent stains can contain up to 900 different petrochemicals, many of which are very harmful. Most of these chemicals, but not all, are regulated by the EPA using the term VOC (volatile organic compounds.) or Carcinogens. These definitions are somewhat misleading though, as not all harmful chemicals fall under the VOC or Carcinogen definition. Furthermore, the EPA allows up to 275 mg/liter of VOC’s for solvent or water-based stains.  
  • Plaint. VOCs not only contribute to smog; they are also potent greenhouse gases. With the huge amounts of energy needed to drill, ship, and refine petroleum into components for paint, petroleum-based stains are simply not sustainable.  
  • Beauty. Petroleum-based stains, being synthetic and highly processed, produce colors that lack natural complexity and all too often look and feel “lifeless.” The solvent stains do penetrate into the wood, but really do not hep to protect the wood that much. Today there is all these new one step stains and sealers, the issues much like the water-based stains today is they all have a binder such as an acrylic, this prevents the stain from actually penetrating into the wood and over time cracks and chips off. The only way to repair the damage is to sand everything off and re-stain or stain with a darker color. This is because these are not stains, but just semitransparent paints called stains. Much like the solvent gel stains.  
  • Although the VOC levels decrees over time better with solvents at (5.7 mg/m3) that decreased over time more slowly than those related to water-based ones. The same finding was observed for the main detected compounds in stains: Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, Xylenes, Styrene, alpha-Pinene and Camphene. These are all known Carcinogens.  

Most paint companies, in attempting to “green” their stains “paints”, have not focused on the human health aspects, rather just removing or replacing particular additives so as to meet the low and zero VOC criteria mandates established by the EPA. Yet their products are still petroleum-based, with pigments, binders and additives remaining synthetic. And almost everyone is basically using the same synthetic petroleum-based tints systems to color their stains now, which results in more VOC’s being added to the product at enormous amounts when colored. Even though these tints are called zero VOC tints. The truth is, they have to be below 250 g/l to be called zero VOC. I call this extremely high VOC's.  

Then when you look at the stains, they have changed them to paints to meet the EPA VOC mandates but called them stains so they can still say they have stains. Just because you change the terminology of something doesn’t make it that. There are still some making solvent-based stains today and those making them with linseed oil is not much better than using a petrochemical solvent-based stain as the process for making linseed oil into a stain, basically turns the linseed oil into a petrochemical in the end. Then you have then new Solid Color Stains (WHAT?) again, it’s a paint. If you can not see the gain, then it is not a stain. If it has a binder, being it acrylic, latex, lacquer or other type that will leave a sheen once dry, it is a PAINT and not a stain.  

This is where Green Planet Paints® is different. Here at GGWP we’ve made three key choices in formulating our paints and stains:

 

1.   To move beyond petroleum and carcinogen materials, using plant-based material binders and additives only.

2.   To minimize or eliminate additives and not over-formulate, which not only creates more synthetic products in our waste stream, but takes the life out of the paint and stains. So, we use plant waste stream materials to make these items for our products.

3.   To use mineral pigments that are produced with low energy processes, resulting in unique, lightfast colors, in a simple, easy to use color palette based on the colors of nature. This applies to our stains too.  

The result are paints and stains that’s are truly exceptional--safe, sustainable, durable and beautiful by nature. And isn’t that what our paint and stain products should be? We even make our own liquid tint systems and they are truly zero in VOC's and 90% bio content.  

Don’t be fooled by big marketing and hidden truths, we don’t have millions of dollars to through at attorney’s to legally twist the facts. We just tell the truth and leave it alone.  

March 2022: We were so blessed to have known such an amazing coatings chemist Mr. Tom Rauls for the past 11 years, a true leader in the industry and ranked as the number two coatings chemist in the USA. He is well known in the coating industry and worked for many of the big names in his early years. He was a very good friend and business partner, and he will be greatly missed by all. Our agreed to goal is still the same, advance the technology and get it out into the world to benefit others health. Tom died from cancer that was caused by his early years of exposure to the same toxic chemicals still being used today in conventional paints and stains. Hopefully the industry leaders will finally get a clew and change their ways. We will still do our best to continue to push them too into changing.