Tips From a Green Painting Contractor

Being a green or Eco-friendly company is generally accepted and even expected by most consumers. Many businesses now, will jump on the bandwagon to not miss the opportunity to join the “trend” Reality is, being environmentally responsible is not a trend. It is a clear everyday choice that the public makes especially when buying products and services. Using low and zero VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paints is a good choice but the bar has been already raised. Consumers expect more from painters. The following tips can help a painting contractor become a green contractor:

Don’t buy too much

When ordering paint, measure the surfaces carefully and order just enough, as per manufacturer’s recommendations coverage rate.  They are usually reliable depending on the surfaces being painted. The same applies when buying sundries such as masking tape, sandpaper etc.

Return what is not used

If the colour is a “stock” factory pre-mixed colour,  you can usually return it to the store for a refund. The thinking is, that leftover paint  would be used somewhere else, but that might be months down the road and paint cans have a tendency to collect and multiply. Sometimes paint can freeze in the winter.

Zero VOC

Zero or low VOC paints now, are as durable as any paints and not much more expensive. Use them almost for any surface and your customers will appreciate the convenience and low odour. If possible, suggest products that use waterbourne colourants as there are some manufacturers that offer this choice. If universal colourants are used, suggest lighter colours to your customers as light colours use less colourants.

Easy on the plastic

Customer property needs to be protected and sometimes plastic covers are necessary. Use thinner lighter grade plastic and even then, re-use any clean plastic for another job. Buying small packages of plastic instead of large boxes or rolls maybe slightly more expensive but less will be used as a result.


The price of fuel is getting more expensive and the cost is becoming a huge problem for small service businesses. Carpooling to the job site will reduce some of this cost and help the environment. Bringing lunch to work, or getting lunch on the way to work, will save time and fuel. Driving vehicles through drive through restaurants is also a poor environmental choice.

How big is your truck

It used to be acceptable to drive around in a mostly empty large van or truck. With the cost of gas and the environmental impact created, that is now becoming unacceptable. Most contractors can get by ok daily with minivans or smaller trucks. The larger vehicles can be used on the first or last day of the job, or when large equipment is needed.

Jobsite garbage

Food garbage, empty paint cans and recyclable bottles and cans can be kept separate, sorted daily and at the end of the job and disposed off appropriately as per municipal and city regulations. Using  less plastic drop cloths, packaging and recycling at the jobsite will reduce the amount of garbage created.

Mind the water

Purchase roller covers and brushes that are easier to wash will save time and use less water. If the same colour is being used the following day, washing the tools daily may not be necessary.  Collecting as much of the washing water as possible in a bucket and re-using it for the next “first wash” is a good idea.

Painting will create waste and will always have some environmental impact. Using common sense and making some responsible choices is usually all it takes to lessen this impact.


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