Everyday brings reports of plastic pollution. We are using plastic with a belief that there are no costs other than the minimal production costs to make it.

Plastic pollution

Plastic in its many forms – acrylic, PVA, vinyl, alkyd and many more – is now everywhere, from litter in the streets, micro-particles in the air and detritus in the oceans. This really matters as its production and its polluting effects are fundamentally undermining the earth’s biodiversity.

Burning fossil fuels is known to be massively polluting but plastic is their dirty cousin – refining crude oil for fuel produces more waste than ‘spirit’ and this waste is what eventually becomes plastic. In terms of the threat to our biosphere fossil fuels and plastics should be seen as indistinguishable.

At AURO we believe that plastic has its place – what we call the ‘appropriate use of plastic’ – think replacement hips or solar panels! We do not believe that after making paint for 40,000 years without plastic however, that it is necessary in paints, woodcare or cleaning products in today’s world. The vast majority of chemical development happens in the field of plastics but the dedicated AURO labs have shown that with the right ethical drive it is possible to bypass plastic constituents. We have learnt that nature provides a massive array of materials that already embody useful properties. Plants are basically chemistry labs in microcosm, converting solar energy, water and nutrients into a living cellular structure cleverly adapted to its environment. Paint makers long ago discovered how to combine plant oils, resins, water, minerals and pigments to make a wide range of paints and lacquers. All without plastic!

AURO continues this legacy by investing in research to ensure that even while mainstream paintmakers employ microbeads for durability or acrylics for emulsifying, these useful properties can still be achieved without the enormous environmental damage now associated with the overuse and irresponsable disposal of plastic.

Probably because there is no requirement to declare the ingredients of paint to the consumer, we tend to focus on the packaging without realising the product itself may actually be made with plastics and a range of petro-chemicals. Plastics are not comprehensively recycled in the UK and until this happens it is better to think in terms of plastic free packaging and containers. Aluminium is a sufficently precious resource for recycling rates to be higher and the processes required are easier to manage. Cardboard and paper tapes can be composted – as can emulsion paint residue when it is made the way AURO make it!