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Workplace Paint

When getting ready to start a painting project, consider adopting or requesting a service provider to follow these guidelines.

efficient coating technology
donating used paint

reducing toxic paint 
helpful links about reducing toxics 


Buy the right amount of paint for the job. Generally, a gallon of paint covers 350 square feet of walls or ceiling. Talk to your paint vendors to determine how much paint is needed for your next paint job.

Purchase paint in the largest size containers available, to reduce the number of containers you’ll be discarding.

Select paint that is specially formulated to reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs contribute to air pollution and can cause adverse health effects, including eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches; and nausea. Light-colored paints typically have the lowest concentration of VOCs. Local Law 120 of 2005 requires City Agencies meet certain standards for purchasing low-VOC paint.

See helpful links about reducing toxics for more information about environmentally preferable paint and products and services for companies that manufacture low-VOC or no-VOC paint.

Reduce odors and air emissions by selecting latex rather than oil paint whenever possible. Latex paint also cleans up with just soap and water — no toxic and flammable paint thinners to worry about. Oil-based paint may be necessary for some uses, like outdoor applications or unpainted wood surfaces.

Consider purchasing recycled paint. Recycled paint is made with paint collected from residents and is completely re-manufactured to assure consistent performance. Recycled paint is sorted, tested, filtered, mixed, and adjusted for quality. When necessary, additional ingredients are added to assure consistent performance, coverage, and color consistency. Recycled paint has recently been introduced into the marketplace and is available to New Yorkers. Select the paint that best meets your needs. If you can’t find a recycled paint in the color you need, remember to keep recycled paint in mind for future paint jobs. The range of recycled paint colors will continue to expand.

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Efficient Coating Technology

Investing resources in researching new painting techniques and less-toxic paint products can improve worker safety and decrease purchasing and waste management costs. Here are some tips for money-saving alternatives to consider when adding a coating or finish to your product:

Increase coating-transfer efficiency by using high-volume, low-pressure (HVLP) painting guns or systems. Using a HVLP system, rather than a conventional spray-painting system, reduces the amount of paint lost due to overspray, bounce, and blowback. Typical transfer efficiency from a conventional system is 25 to 30 percent, compared to 50 to 65 percent for HVLP systems.

Depending on the application, consider using another type of transfer-efficient coating system, such as:

  • Airless: Paint is atomized by forcing it through a small orifice at the tip of the spray gun nozzle at high fluid pressures (1,500 to 3,000 psi).
  • Pressure atomized air-assisted: Combines features of conventional (air atomized) and airless systems. An airless, fluid spray nozzle is used to atomize the coating into a fan pattern at high pressures (400 to 800 psi). A second, low-pressure air stream (10 to 30 psi) is injected after the nozzle, to improve atomization and the spray pattern.
  • Electrostatic: Negatively charged, atomized paint particles and a grounded work piece create an electrostatic field that draws paint particles to the work piece.

Consider replacing water-curtain spray booths with dry-filter paint booths. Dry-filter technologies capture paint-based particulate emissions using a filter system. Whereas water-curtain systems produce waste water and paint sludge that often must be pretreated or handled as hazardous waste, dry-filter technologies generate only spent filters. The filter-disposal method depends on the constituents of the paint in use and the quantity of filters generated.

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Donating Used Paint

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Tips for your agency:
cafeteria | garage and repair shop | maintenance | office | restroom | shipping and receiving | yard

Tips for businesses:
green building | healthcare | manufacturing | office | restaurant | retail | workplace relocation

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