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Saturday, 22 February 2020

Inconsistency threatens our future

Thursday, 23 February 2012 | Posted by: Sonja Specks, European Coatings Journal

Environmental protection  is a word which triggers reactions between shrugging my shoulders, as I already take it for granted, and irritated hearing nerves. But I see the gap between my microcosm of separating eggshell, plastic cups and bean tins and the inconsequent implementation of environmental measures in the chemical industry.

Also regarding products of and for the coatings industry, it seems to me that environmental protection is kept at a minimum, existing only for marketing reasons – at least in Europe.
It is clear that as yet no coating has been produced to protect the environment. We can already be thankful that not every raw material has an impact on the environment. It seems to me that researchers hope to minimise the obvious environmental harmfulness here and there, by using  less solvents, biocides or chromium. Also the substitution of fossil raw materials happens only occasionally.
In summary I have to complain that environmental safety has so far just been a half-hearted project in the coatings industry. Where you can market it, you use it, but anywhere else only the price and maybe the performance count.
You can see this when you look toward Asia, Africa and South America. There are coatings in use, you could never imagine taking into your hands here. Just because of their negative influence on your health and on the environment, but selling them there with a good earning is not a problem at all.
I can’t understand why the European regulations, like REACh have been criticised. After all it is already common practice: coating in the rest of the world is completely different from that in Europe – but in the long term this will also be our disadvantage.

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