You can have any colour you like as long as its green

on Thursday, 14 April 2011. Posted in N21 Business Blog


Just had the bathroom decorated and the house is smelling with paint. Paint, stains and such like contain volatile organic carbon based compounds (VOCs) and these products are hazardous products, which emit toxic fumes which can cause headaches, nausea, asthma attacks and potentially implicated in other serious diseases. Cadmium, lead and chromium are frequently used in pigments; and petrochemicals, solvents, benzene, and formaldehyde  are used in binders and carriers. Whilst we slap it on with gay abandon, paint is a toxic cocktail. Not only that but VOCs evaporate easily in the atmosphere and are also known to be a major contributor to global climate change.

There are green alternatives, eco-friendly paints, which are rated as natural, Zero-VOC, or low-VOC, are available in a wide range of colours, finishes and are as durable as conventional paints and don’t cost any more than the brand leaders.  The market for natural paints is growing. So why can’t we buy them in London N21 and why aren’t our local army of painters and decorators using them?

Paint The Town Green is a new decorating company based in South London, which describes itself as “London’s first eco friendly decorating company”. It has been set up by Phil Robinson who has been in the trade for over 12 years. Phil describes on his website how he spent  several months researching the environmentally-friendly paint market and settled on a range made in Iceland, under licence from a Swedish company Beckers. These ranges have been awarded the EU Flower and the Nordic swan eco-label for their eco-friendly manufacturing techniques. “Essentially the Flower is the gold standard for 'green' paint - in a similar way to the Soil Association certification for organic food” writes Phil.

Not only is his paint eco-friendly but Phil has followed through his green concept into other aspects of his business, his vans and marketing materials. He doesn’t give is clients wasteful sampler tins of paint, but instead sends out postcards, hand painted with the colour of the customer's choice to stick onto walls.

Environmental regulations have forced conventional paint companies to reduce their VOC content and he major paint companies are starting to market low VOCs paint ranges, but they have a bit of an image dilemma because of the implication that most of their other paint is toxic. This is the start of the decorating season, a lot of paint will be bought over the three Spring bank holidays. In the UK, VOC labels are used, and indicate the content of VOCs using one of five classifications: Minimal (0-0.29%), Low, Medium, High and Very High (VOC content greater than 50%).  It was Henry Ford who was supposed to have said that you can have any colour you like as loing as it is black. Perhaps it is now time to update this adage – you can have any colour you like as long as it s green.



This is a great way for a local painter to differentiate his business, Phil is based in South London, there is plenty of opportunity for someone to develop a green decorating business on this side of the Thames.

Paint The Town Green is a new decorating company based in South London, which describes itself as "London's first eco friendly decorating company".

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