Environmental Impact

The coatings industry actively addresses environmental improvements by managing and minimizing toxins and wastes, reducing air emissions, and promoting product and environmental stewardship. To manufacture products in an environmentally conscious way without compromising product performance, industry has shifted to innovative technologies, including water-based, powder, and ultraviolet cure coatings, as well as other processes to achieve minimal emissions.

" 50%

Architectural VOC

Volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from architectural coatings have drastically decreased over the last few decades, even while the use of architectural coatings has increased over the same period nationwide.

California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District estimates that VOCs from architectural coatings in the Los Angeles area — the air basin with the most severe air quality issues in the country — decreased by over 50% between 2008 and 2014.

" 81%

Toxic Air Releases

U.S. EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) indicates releases by the paint and coatings sector decreased by 81% between 1990 and 2014.

Toxicity-weighted results for air releases present an even more significant decline, decreasing 94% from 1990.

! 81%

Waste Recycled

The paint and coatings industry increased the percentage of the total waste it recycles by over 81%, from 1995 to 2013.

During that same period, industry reduced its total production waste by 48%.

" 94%

Hazardous Air Pollutants

Toxicity-weighted air toxics releases declined by 94% during that same period.

California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District estimates that VOCs from architectural coatings in the Los Angeles area — the air basin with the most severe air quality issues in the country — decreased by over 50% between 2008 and 2014.

! 90%

Architectural Coatings

More than 90% of architectural coatings sales in the United States are now for environmentally preferable water-based paint.

The largest segment of the paint industry produces architectural coatings — including consumer paints — which make up more than half of the total volume of coatings produced annually in the United States.

97%

Waste Solvents

97% of all waste solvents from paint and coatings manufacturing facilities are reclaimed for future use.

Waste solvents from chemical processes or cleaning are usually collected for disposal as hazardous waste.

" 35%

RCRA Hazardous Waste

The paint, coatings, and adhesives manufacturing industry reduced its generation of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste in the United States by over one-third (34.8%) since 2001.

When categorizing hazardous waste, the EPA breaks it down by four characteristics: ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, and toxicity.

PaintCare

Unused or leftover paint is a major focus of product stewardship efforts. ACA created PaintCare, to ensure effective operation and efficient administration of paint product stewardship programs on behalf of all architectural paint manufacturers in the United States.

Fact Sheet

Download a fact sheet highlighting industry’s environmental success story: improvements in managing and minimizing toxins and wastes, reducing air emissions, and promoting product stewardship.

Sources

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxic Release Inventory
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National RCRA Hazardous Waste Report, 2001 & 2013
U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 & 2012 Economic Census
South Coast Air Quality Management District’s 2012 Air Quality Management Plan
South Coast Air Quality Management District Rule 314 – Fees for Architectural Coatings: Preliminary 2014 Data
U.S. Industry Market Analysis for the Paint & Coatings Industry (2018-2023)
PaintCare: www.paintcare.org

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