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Eco-friendly paints by eicó

by Sophie Cullen on Apr 14, 2016 in Interiors
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Manufacturing high-end products in facilities that are carbon-neutral, eicó is one of the only firms in Asia that creates eco-friendly paints

'We believe that genuine sustainability has no destination. Rather, it is a mindset that should permeate every strata and facet of the company' — albeit lofty, this is the vision of eicó, a high quality paint firm that is 'eco' in both name and nature.

The brand was started in the UK at the turn of the millennium, after significant research and development by the owners to create a top-quality product that not only lasts well, but is manufactured through a sustainable ecosystem. This means that the products are produced in carbon-neutral facilities, the solvent for the paint is water — meaning no heavy metals are employed — and that the paint contains the best quality raw materials.

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Thanks to its low VOC (volatile organic compound) formula and long-lasting ability, a range of schools, hospitals and kindergartens in Hong Kong and China have opted to use eicó paints

In China, regulations surrounding paint products are antiquated to the say the least, with heavy metals allowed to be used in production. "It's very different here to what's happening in the industry in Europe. Formaldehyde was banned there in the 80s, but you're actually allowed to have it in paint in China," says Joakim Cimmerbeck, owner of eicó Hong Kong.

Seeing a gap in the market for environmentally-friendly paint products in Asia, Cimmerbeck, who is also a shareholder in the UK firm, decided to open the Hong Kong-based company.

"Convincing people in Hong Kong about the benefits of using eco-friendly products is much more difficult than in Europe," he says. "We've had discussions with some really big companies here who have sustainability policies, and they totally buy the concept and agree with the concept, but are largely reluctant to change."

The products have been used for multiple purposes and are especially popular in the local Hong Kong street art scene

The products have been used for multiple purposes and are especially popular in the local Hong Kong street art scene

But change they should, as Hong Kong itself has fairly rudimentary regulatory standards surrounding paint products and what they contain. One of the largest short-term advantages of paints by eicó is that they contain little to no VOC (volatile organic compounds). In laymen's terms, VOCs are a wide range of chemicals released into the air when paint is applied, easily detectable by the fumes released upon application.

"Our paints are much healthier to the consumer than anything else on the market. You can literally paint and eat in the room at the same time," Cimmerbeck notes.

However, it's that bigger picture approach to their manufacturing that makes the company particularly unique. While other firms may source high quality pigments for the products themselves and leave heavy metals out of their paints, very few manufacture their goods in plants specifically built to create a low carbon footprint.

This is an excerpt from the "From the Windows to the Walls” article from the April 2016 issue of Perspective magazine.

To continue reading, get your copy of Perspective.

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