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From Habitat magazine - issue 08

Aside from eco-friendly paint, Resene is doing its bit for the environment in many other ways.

Eco friendly packaging

Any major company these days needs to be aware of the impact its production techniques or products have on the environment. While Resene produces its Environmental Choice paints (see overleaf), it also strives to be eco-friendly in other ways – such as through its packaging and by using sustainable paper stocks on which to print its colour charts and brochures.

When it comes to packaging, many people would have clear consciences by using paper or cardboard, knowing that once it has been used it can be recycled.

The Resene philosophy doesn’t rest with one use, however, when it comes to cardboard.

Distributing paint around the country requires the use of lots of cardboard boxes. Many of these are passed onto those customers who buy large volumes of paint. The rest are returned to Resene using the Resene box recycling system.

Resene ColorShops flatten any spare boxes and place them into special box recycling cartons, which are then returned to the central Resene warehouse when full. The boxes are then reassembled and reused for future paint production. Being made of sturdy cardboard, the boxes can do many round trips before requiring replacement.

It was the first time that the colour chart supplier had been asked to help develop sustainable stock options, and finding paper stocks that would stand up to the demands of colour chart production was a surprisingly slow process. Many sustainable paper stocks are too lightweight to withstand the twisting and pulling of colour chips. After numerous production trials, stocks were confirmed and have begun to be used.

Resene colour charts are finished in Environmental Choice approved Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen, Resene SpaceCote Flat, Resene Enamacryl Metallic and Resene Non-Skid Deck & Path, while the remainder are finished in waterborne inks. Not only do the Resene paints give a truer representation of the actual colour, but they also reduce solvent emissions compared to traditional solvent-borne lacquers. This is a stark contrast to overseas colour chart production, where much of the colour chart market is still based on direct deposit colour swatches using solventborne lacquers.

And to round out Resene’s responsible approach to the environment, this very magazine is wrapped in a special biodegradable plastic when posted to all of its cardholders.

Greening charts

Resene prints brochures, labels and its specifier newsletter, Resene News, on sustainable paper stocks, so sourcing sustainable paper stock for its colour charts was a natural recent step.

Resene worked with its main colour chart supplier, Color Communications, for nearly 18 months to test a vast variety of sustainable paper stocks for durability and aesthetics so that Resene could complete the transition of the last of its charts to sustainable paper stocks.

Painting the town green

Resene began its ‘green’ approach long before it was the topical issue it is today. In the 1950s, the company first introduced waterborne paint to the local market (it’s hard to believe that before that, all paint was solventborne). Resene was also the first New Zealand paint company to offer an extensive range of Environmental Choice approved paints in 1996.

Environmental Choice paint

Environmental Choice is a programme endorsed by the Ministry for the Environment aimed at improving the quality of the environment by minimising the adverse environmental impacts generated by the production, distribution, use and disposal of products.

Resene Environmental Choice paints make it easy for customers to make sustainable purchases because they are from the existing range of Resene paints so don’t cost any more.

One of the environmental baddies of paint is VOCs (volatile organic compounds) which are emitted from surface coatings, including many standard household paints, and have been shown to deplete ozone.

The average per litre VOC levels of Resene paint sales have dropped by more than 90% in the past two decades and in 2007, Resene Zylone Sheen VOC Free was introduced, followed by a VOC free ceiling paint and wallboard sealer this year.

Resene evaluates all key raw materials and pays a premium for ingredients that have demonstrably less impact on the environment. For example, titanium oxide is purchased from suppliers who use the least wasteful processing techniques.

Resene has also worked hard to make its paints last longer and have a positive impact on the entire building environment. For example, Resene Cool Colours are exterior paints formulated to reflect solar heat that would normally be absorbed, thereby reducing substrate stress and improving paint longevity. Lower heat absorption in a building exterior means your home is more comfortably cooler in summer.

And to complete the sustainability cycle, Resene introduced the world-first innovative paint recovery and recycling programme called Resene PaintWise in 2004. Any old paint of any brand can be returned to Resene for responsible recycling. Many thousands of cans have already been returned with paint donations going to community group projects throughout the country and to cover unwanted graffiti. See for details.

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