Interview: Coatings need preservatives

Preservatives are becoming increasingly unavailable for paints, printing inks and artist’s colours. This will impact millions of coated products. We spoke to Sebastian Kraußlach, Public Affairs Manager at CEPE.

Mikroorganismen 3d rendering
Water-borne products require preservatives to prevent the growth of microorganisms. Image source: sdecoret - (symbol image).

You started a campaign on preservatives. What is it all about?

Sebastian Kraußlach: Manufacturers and users of paints, inks and artists’ colours face a major challenge regarding the future availability of preservatives in Europe. Water-borne products require preservatives to prevent the growth of microorganisms in the can and on the final product. Without preservatives, product waste will increase, and more frequent repainting will be required. This is in direct conflict with the EU’s green and circular goals. Today, there are only a handful of preservatives available to the industry and the situation is expected to worsen.

Event tip: Environmental issues and economic perspectives are also key points on the agenda of the CEPE Annual Conference & General Assembly 2022 taking place from 28-30 September in Madrid, Spain.

What is the campaign’s goal?

Kraußlach: The CEPE campaign “#CoatingsNeedPreservatives” seeks to draw attention to the issue and to provide a solution. We would welcome a more holistic approach to the assessment process, the avoidance of simple adjustments following the harmonised classification process and risk assessments at the product approval stage. It must be understood that the impact of the current situation is potentially very large, not only affecting our sector but also millions of coated products. Therefore, we need this conversation to be public and broader than with a few experts. For this reason, we provide new material that explains the quite complex issue in rather simple terms, also by using infographics, that can be found on our campaign website:

What will be further steps in this regard?

Kraußlach: The campaign is embedded in past and future efforts. At the end of February, we launched an action week on social media with several posts a day highlighting our concerns, which was quite successful in terms of outreach, coverage and follow-up opportunities. It was also a very nice experience thanks to our members that made great effort and have been very active. Now we are following up with the new opportunities that have presented themselves to us; especially with meetings requests by ministries to which our national associations have been invited to, but also press work. We will continue with engagement at the local level and shall soon have an impact assessment ready that provides further insights on how our sectors could be impacted by the unavailability of preservatives.

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