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Toy Safe Paints

Continuing the discussion from What’s your favourite paint?:

Thanks @greenpainting for the recent info on your paints of choice. I will be interested to hear reports on your performance finds of Nursery paint co over a longer timescale. Ever hopeful, but our optimism needs to be tempered by a few false dawns over recent years.

My ears do prick up when paint companies claim the perfect zero anything product. We live in hope, and I am not challenging any chemistry related claims, and I get that you want no petro-chemical content. For info purposes, I would point out that Little Greene intelligent eggshell and intelligent matt for instance have the same BS EN71-3 certification for Toy Safe paints as the soya bean Nursery Paint co and all but zero VOC content. Acrylic based paint has plenty of nasties in it, but I think there is a process underway heading to where you want to go.


I don’t disagree with you Andy. There are plenty of acrylic paints that are non toxic and plenty of ‘natural’ paints that contain synthetic ingredients.

The point of my choices is that I not only want healthy paint from the point of view of me and the customer, but also something that is environmentally responsible and acrylic paints can’t claim to be that because of the source of the acrylic.

I am planning to start building a scoring system to make things easier for me when I compare products. This will go something like, a point for a paint with no petro-oil. A point if it’s made in UK (smaller Co2 footprint), a point if it has no acrylic, a point if it is at least 99% renewable source and a point if it’s 100% renewable. Of course none with get full points because of the mineral pigments.

But by scoring products that way I can build a table of preferred products. If necessary I will use acrylic paints but I draw a line at anything with oil (hydro carbon) and I won’t even bother quoting on jobs where that is specified.

I haven’t been confident enough with a ‘natural’ paint to make the switch until now and the Nursery Paint co product really does seem pretty good.

So yes - low VOC is part of it for me but it goes further which does limit my product choices. However, it is a condition of my continuing in the business that I am able to offer the service I promise to customers. I.e. healthy paints and where possible and practical, environmentally responsible paints.

Once I decide on the limits of the products I also need to establish the quality of those products. The natural paints need to be able to match the performance of the rest of the bunch. Unfortunately not many of them do yet.

It also extends to tools but that’s more complicated. The only ‘eco’ brush I have come across is the EcoEeze recycled bristle and bamboo handle. The problem is it’s actually not very good anyway and I recently found out it’s made in China so aswell as having a fair size carbon footprint it may well be made using cheap labour that we might see as un-ethical. So the trick then is to find a brush that delivers quality and lasts a long time so reducing waste. Made in the UK is ideal but there’s not much choice there.

So I seem to be making my own life difficult but it’s a challenge I have accepted - for now :slight_smile:

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I’ve got a piece of skirting I put some Nursery Paint on - I’ll see if I can get a pic so you can see the finish. Problem is I purposely left it on the floor in the halls so it would get kicked about so it will probably look a bit of a state now.

It is a tricky path but worth following through with.

In addition to distance and general unease with the way Chinese goods are made, I would also caution against “bamboo” on the sustainability angle. While having many excellent properties and many sources are managed correctly, equally there are sources that equate to cattle ranching in the Amazon - mass clearance of all foliage that is actually natural and replacing it with the new cash crop of bamboo.

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So pleased that you added to your list of criteria that you rate a paint product against, later in your text;

“Once I decide on the limits of the products I also need to establish the quality of those products. The natural paints need to be able to match the performance of the rest of the bunch. Unfortunately not many of them do yet.”

A paint is there for a purpose and that primarily is to coat a surface for decorative and longevity purposes… in short the paint needs to work!.. if the product doesn’t work, there is no point in using it, “eco” or not.

I look forward to your full findings.