green epoxy resin

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In the resin sector, as in all other fields, “green” promises are on the rise. Is it, nevertheless, reasonable to claim that a resin is environmentally friendly? How can we account for the fact that certain manufacturers make such a claim? What factors must we consider in order to determine whether a resin is actually safe for your health and the environment?

Is it possible that epoxy resin is detrimental to your health?

There are a lot of concerns regarding epoxy circulating around. They frequently emerge as a result of a mix-up with styrene-based polyester resins. Polyester resins have a strong odor and might produce hazardous fumes.

Epoxy resins, on the other hand, should not be a source of concern. The most well-known health issue is dermatitis, which is an allergic reaction to skin contact. As with any allergies, they can be severe or mild, and they can strike at any time. After a few years, some persons who had no previous difficulties develop a reaction.

It’s always more prudent to handle resin with gloves, goggles, and protective clothing in order to prevent risks of contact and splashing.

Epoxy (both resin and hardener) does not generally cause major health problems. It is still, however, a chemical. As such it requires taking precautions. We also recommend keeping it out of reach of children (like most household cleaners).

But is it more risky for the environment ?

Is epoxy resin environmentally friendly?

Epoxy, polyurethane, and silicone, in general, are entirely inert and thus environmentally safe once catalyzed.

As a result, once your epoxy resin has fully polymerized, it cannot pollute the environment.

This is particularly true if you:

1- The blend and preparation are flawless. To guarantee complete polymerization, which implies the molecular chain is entirely closed, it’s critical to stick to the ratio and thoroughly mix the resin and hardener. (After the product has been blended and solidified, all of the molecules in the liquid version of parts A and B are assembled.)

2- Choosing a resin formulated with 100% solids. This means that the system contains no water or solvent.  With epoxy systems free from Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), you ensure that once the resin/hardener mix has polymerized, there will be no solvent emanation.

What’s behind the promise of a “green” resin ?

However, other products have arisen on the market touting the fact that they are made with organic substances such as legumes or other plant-based ingredients, raising questions about the usefulness of green resin.

An informed customer should be drawn in by such an argument and should then ask themselves the following questions:

1- What is the amount of ingredients in the formula?

2- Is a product inherently “green” if a few plant-based ingredients are added to the formula (perhaps in microscopic doses?!) Is the rest of the recipe made up of ingredients that are usually found in epoxy?

3- How do those ingredients improve the formula and therefore your results when you use that product ?

For now, these questions do not seem to have answers. Worse, this raises even more question about the manufacturer’s need to insist on the innovative nature of this type of formulation in the field of thermosetting resins without any proof or scientific explanation.

In addition, let us push this reasoning even further. What is the legitimacy of diverting agricultural raw materials. Is growing vegetable matter (using pesticides and large amounts of water), then keeping it from the agri-food industry only to add it into chemical formulas, without proof of any benefit, truly environmentally responsible?

In summary: what can we learn from this ?

To sum it up, the consumer should not let themselves be deceived by nebulous promises of a vaguely vegan or environmentally friendly nature ! In this field, as in others, greenwashing is a marketing weapon used by some manufacturers riding the environmentally friendly trend to sell more product. A green label is never the token of a natural product.

What is the true value of plant-based additives in an epoxy? How does this improve the product ?  Are results improved by a bit of added plant matter ? To this day, no manufacturer has produced solid evidence of any environmental benefit gained from adding a little green into their container and on their label.

When it’s time to choose a resin, product quality should the THE defining criterion.

This quality is probably not related to any plant-based additive. Moreover, the only serious criterion on which you should base your choice of an environmentally-friendly resin is the absence of any VOC.

Remember that prioritizing 100% solids epoxy systems formulated with no VOC, which guarantees high quality raw materials, will also be the safest, most environmentally sound choice !

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