Last updated on April 6th, 2023 at 12:02 am
Thinking of painting your walls a new color? Changing the color of our walls is one of the most impactful things we can do to change the mood of our home. But don’t paints have toxins in them? Which paints are non-toxic? Is there any eco-friendly paint for walls? Let’s find out what the best options are for our families.
- What is Eco-friendly Paint?
- Benefits of Eco-friendly Paint for Walls
- Certification of Eco-Friendly Paints
- Top Brands of Eco friendly Paint
- Eco-friendly Wall Paint Brands in Europe
- Eco-friendly Wall Paint Brands in Australia & New Zealand
There’s a strong association between paints and chemicals. After all, while painting your new home, you’re advised to move children and pets away until it dries. Removing paint requires strong and pungent turpentine. Obviously, it doesn’t seem very healthy to breathe in or ingest wall paint!
The thing is, wall paints have high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC). VOCs are present in paints, varnishes and can lead to headaches, respiratory illnesses, poor indoor air quality, and more.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), VOC effects can be up to ten times higher inside your home than outside.
So, what can we do? Well, we could introduce some air-purifying indoor plants – to improve air quality as well as mood! And, luckily, there are also some new innovative eco-friendly paints for us to try out.
What is Eco-friendly Paint?
Regular paint products contain plasticizers, adhesives, hardeners, pigments, and drying accelerants, among other harmful ingredients. Eco-friendly paints are paints that are designed to have very low levels of VOCs. They differ from traditional oil-based wall paints in that they are water-based and non-toxic. Some eco-friendly paints are created with balsam, clay, milk proteins, and other substances as the base.
These new, eco-friendly paints have become more durable and green as new brands and technologies have come into existence. Not only are they manufactured in an eco-friendly manner, to protect the environment, but they are also much better for our health. They will match perfectly with the eco-friendly flooring options for your home, the eco-friendly decking materials, and the non-toxic wallpaper. You can also use eco-friendly art materials to customize your wall designs.
Benefits of Eco-friendly Paint for Walls
Eco-friendly paint is generally characterized by these benefits:
1 / Low VOC Content
VOCs are the reason for the strong odor in paints. Eco-friendly paints are made with little to zero VOCs. This makes them more biodegradable and recyclable.
2 / Made from natural materials
Eco-friendly paints are made from natural ingredients such as beeswax, seed oil, etc. Such materials are biodegradable and do not harm the environment during the production process. This also reduces the carbon footprint of the paint products.
3 / Healthier for Humans and Pets
VOCs in traditional chemical paints have been found to be active for up to five years after application. This leads to serious health problems such as lung cancer, as well as chronic respiratory illnesses. In contrast, eco-friendly paints are absolutely safe for everyone at home, due to the absence of dangerous chemicals and VOCs.
4 / More Cost-effective
You would expect eco-friendly paint to be more expensive than regular paint, and they are. At face value. But when you take into account their important benefits, along with the fact that the latest paint formulations are more viscous, abrasion-resistant, and retain color better, it’s clear that eco-friendly paints are, overall, more cost-effective.
Certification of Eco-Friendly Paints
How can we be sure that the paint is as eco-friendly as they claim? Independent authorities that check and certify the claims, such as the ones listed below, are important to make note of.
1 / Green Seal®
A Green Seal certification indicates presence of less than 50g of VOCs per liter of flat paint. It also means the product has met Green Seal’s sustainability standards (for reducing pollution and protecting health).
2 / GREENGUARD
GREENGUARD certifies paints that have less than 50 grams of VOCs per liter. From the GREENGUARD website: Products that have achieved GREENGUARD Certification are scientifically proven to meet some of the world’s most rigorous third-party chemical emissions standards, helping to reduce indoor air pollution and the risk of chemical exposure.
3 / EU Ecolabel
EU Ecolabel is an independent accreditation system for goods and services that meet strict environmental criteria within the European Union.
4 // EPA Guidelines
This isn’t a certification, but more of a guideline. The EPA determines as safe VOC levels of up to 100 grams per liter for matt paint finishes and 250 grams per liter for glossy paint finishes. There are, unfortunately, no standards in place for low-VOC and zero-VOC paints, so, for now, you can only go by the label displayed by the manufacturer to determine the paint’s VOC content.
Top Brands of Eco friendly Paint
All these brands, listed alphabetically, are eco-friendly, and contain low or zero VOCs. (Sherwin-Williams non toxic paint has been discontinued, last we checked.)
1 // AURO
Price: $48-$78 per gallon
AURO prides themselves on their petrochemical-free products. All their paints are derived from natural raw materials (plants or minerals). Most of their product line is vegan, but they do have some products that contain animal-derived substances such as beeswax, casein, lactic acid, shellac and cochenille. The wall paint uses an emissions-free proprietary biogenic binding agent, and adheres to strict low VOC standards.
2 // Backdrop
Price: $59–$65 per gallon
Backdrop has some gorgeous shades of rich color. Their premium quality paints are low-VOC, Green Wise-certified, and low odor. They are the first Climate Neutral Certified paint brand. Their packaging is made from compostable Green Cell Foam, and their metal paint can is made from recyclable stainless steel.
Backdrop partners with the International Rescue Committee to help people whose lives and livelihoods have been shattered by conflict and disaster.
3 // BioShield
Price: $46–$68 per gallon
BioShield, one of the oldest paint companies in the US, has been offering environmentally safe paints since the early 1980s. Their solvent-free, zero-VOC paints include clay paints in soothing colors, which are self-priming, spatter-resistant and have strong coverage. All the products are made from natural, renewable resources sans harmful substances.
4 // Clare Paints
Price: $54 per gallon
Clare Paints carries only zero VOC paints, all of which are GREENGUARD Gold certified. In addition, the paints are low-odor and self-priming. They are compliant with LEED regulations (including low-waste production methods, recycled packaging, and water conservation systems). Their stunning, curated, water-based pastel colors are washable and scrubbable.
Take the Clare Color Genius quiz to determine the ideal colors for your space.
5 // Earth Pigments
Price: From $54 for 5 kg base
Earth Pigments have soothing, earthy colors made from ocher, bright oxide pigments, and natural mica. The mineral and plant-based, non-toxic pigments have been sustainably harvested. They recommend that you follow a specific mixing process to mix the pigments and other materials before painting.
6 // ECOS Paints
Price: From $85.75 per gallon
ECOS Paints’ products are all entirely VOC-free and odorless. The paints are organic, water-based and never tested on animals. They have a transparent ingredient list policy, and list out every ingredient, its function and full description. ECOS paints have been used to paint the walls of the Louvre, Westminster Abbey, the Getty Museum, and more. Which is a vibe you can imagine for your home as well!
7 // EcoProcote
Price: $69.98 per gallon
EcoProcote’s DuraSoy paint is water-based, zero-VOC, and LEED V4 compliant. Made with recycled and plant-based ingredients, this toxin-free paint from EcoProCote is perfect for a fuss-free wall finish. The colors are made with colorfast pigments.
8 // Farrow & Ball
Price: $110 per gallon
Farrow & Ball has a stunning range of 132 gorgeous colors, all highly pigmented, zero-VOC, and 100% water-based. They have chalky matt-finish paints as well as the mold-resistant Modern Emulsion line for damper spaces such as the bathroom. The paints are GREENGUARD-approved, and the cruelty-free company recycles its waste products.
Price: $65 per liter
Dutch paint company Fine Paints of Europe offers cruelty-free, low-VOC, scrubbable paint options in unlimited custom colors. They are a LEED-compliant company, and the paints have a fast drying waterborne finish. This brand is very popular among architects and interior designers.
10 // Graham & Brown
Price: $90 per gallon
Graham & Brown’s 400 water-based, eco-friendly paints are a sheer delight to look at. This carbon-neutral company mixes your paints to order, and plants trees to offset all carbon emissions. They have metallic and glitter topcoat finishes, and offer stunning wallpapers as well, along with murals and wall art, to match with your wall color.
11 // Green Planet Paints
Price: $64.99 per gallon
These zero-VOC, GREENGUARD-certified, plant-based, non-toxic paints claim to be able to improve your indoor air quality by up to 50 per cent.
Price: $56.99 per gallon
This Benjamin Moore non toxic paint is 100% acrylic, and is certified asthma and allergy-friendly, with zero VOCs, low odor, and zero emissions. It’s also self-priming, and dries quickly. Natura comes in four different finishes: Flat, Eggshell, Semi-Gloss and Pearl.
13 // The Real Milk Paint Co.
Price: $62.99 per gallon
Milk paint is made from organic milk protein, and provides a great texture to the paint (apart from being eco-friendly). The Real Milk Paint Co. has biodegradable paints in numerous lovely colors. They’re all zero-VOC and odorless, with a water-based formula.
14 // Unearthed Paints
Price: $55 per gallon and up
Unearthed Paints is a family-owned business that makes paints that are biodegradable, zero-VOC, and with no animal testing. The paints contain only natural earth and mineral pigments, and are derived from casein.
Unearthed Paints have three types of environmentally friendly paints: clay paint, textured clay paint, and vega paint. They are all made with the finest ingredients, including reclaimed Italian marble, white porcelain clay, and earth and mineral pigments. They have 24 different pigments, allowing for a lot of customization.
Eco-friendly Wall Paint Brands in Europe
1 // Earthborn
2 // Little Greene
3 // Lakeland Paints
4 // Graphenstone
Eco-friendly Wall Paint Brands in Australia & New Zealand
2 // PaintPlus
3 // Ecolour
4 // Volvox
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