Experts’ opinions on sustainable colourants

Regarding the sustainability in coatings, the role of colourants is not the first thing to pop up. Nevertheless, they are an important raw material. We spoke with experts about their role for sustainable coatings and other trends.

Can colourants help to improve sustainability efforts of the coatings industry? Image source: markus thoenen -
Thomas Sowade

For Thomas Sowade from Heubach, one way to improve the sustainability of colourants is quite similar to other raw materials. “For pigments one can discuss about the usage of bio-based organic pigments, or inorganic pigments using recycled raw materials”, he says. A view that Christopher Jahn from Dörken Coatings probably agrees with. He explains: “When formulating our raw materials, we pay attention to fair conditions in their extraction or creation.” A part of this is paying attention to social and ecological responsible business behaviour.

However, the topic is more than just the question of were the raw materials come from, but also how they are produced. “One further, less visible approach, is the internal production handling. Here, huge efforts are taken to minimise energy and water consumption, to reduce waste and exhausts by implementing smart production technology”, explains Thomas Sowade.

Christopher JahnAnd of course, there is the end use of coatings that also plays an important role. Christopher Jahn (picture right) mentions “the implementation of colour tones with long renovation intervals, functional pastes and user-friendly dosing for pigment pastes at the POS.”

“A further approach are IR-reflecting pigments to increase lifetime of a coating or even thermal insulation system, with the potential to also contribute to the heat management system of buildings”, adds Sowade. He also adds, that lead pigment replacement is an still ongoing issue. While Europe stopped using them a log time ago, they are still used in other parts of the world.

This is a shortened summary of a more detailed interview in European Coating Journal 5/2021. The full interview is available in the online library European Coatings 360°.

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