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Industrial Coatings that 'C.A.R.E'

The C.A.R.E Standard

As part of Trimite Global Coatings Sustainability commitment to minimise the impact of our products on the environment, we have initiated the C.A.R.E Standard.

C.A.R.E stands for ‘Coatings Actively Supporting the Environment’.

The Trimite C.A.R.E Standard identifies, and stimulates the development of, coatings which reduce the emission of VOC’s to the environment. They are either water based, and therefore have a very low VOC content, or they are solvent based, but have reduced VOC levels compared to typical coatings of their type, or they have other environmental benefits.

The C.A.R.E logo will shortly appear on a select range of Trimite coatings which have been designed to reduce their environmental impact.


By far the biggest factor contributed by modern paints to environmental damage are VOC’s, although their contribution is relatively minor.

VOC’s are Volatile Organic Compounds, usually just known as ‘solvents’. The great majority (~80%) of VOC emissions globally come from natural sources, not from man-made pollution. The paint and ink industries in the UK are thought to contribute roughly 4% to overall VOC emissions.

VOC’s make a small contribution to atmospheric pollution by accelerating the production of ground-level ozone. Ozone (O3) is an essential constituent of the upper atmosphere (stratosphere), where it helps to absorb most of the harmful Ultra Violet (UV) light coming from the sun. However, ozone, when at ground level, is known to cause damage to plants, animals and humans. Lower atmospheric ozone is however mainly produced from pollution by vehicle exhausts and power generation.

VOC’s do not directly contribute to global warming. The main ‘greenhouse gasses’ causing global warming are carbon dioxide and methane.

Aerial view of coal power plant high pipes with black smoke moving up polluting atmosphere at sunset.

Other factors

While reduction of VOC’s is probably the most important overall aspect of making modern industrial coatings more sustainable, paints can be engineered to reduce environmental impact in other ways, which include the following.

It should be noted that over the past few decades, a very wide range of chemicals have been removed completely from industrial coatings and other uses, on environmental and toxicity grounds. These include, for example, lead and chromate pigments, tin-based antifoulings and many others.

  • Isocyanates. Typical two pack polyurethane coatings usually have a curing agent which includes isocyanates. These are a known lung sensitiser which can affect the health of applicators breathing in paint vapours. They do not noticeably contribute to atmospheric pollution. Two pack products with broadly similar properties to two pack polyurethanes, but which do not contain isocyanate, are available and are usually referred to as ‘Non-iso’ products.
  • Stoving / Force Dry temperatures. Many industrial coatings applied on a production line are heated to speed up drying. This heating process can use a lot of energy, so if a coating can be engineered to require lower temperatures for drying, energy savings can result, with both environmental and cost benefits.
"energy saving" cloud word on sky.