Dunn-Edwards is dedicated to a less toxic environment and green future, stressing eco-friendly paint ingredients, EG-Free™ and "VOC-free" paint.
Green is the color of living leaves — the sign of a vital, ongoing process. At Dunn-Edwards®, we view working and living “green” the same way: a continual process; a journey, not a destination.
Today, people are increasingly concerned with how we care for our shared environment and how it relates to our quality of life. From the beginning of Dunn-Edwards, being green has been at the core of our business practices. Starting as a small company of family and friends, our concern for the environment had always been expressed in simple terms: Make the most of what you have. Avoid letting anything go to waste. Clean up after yourself. Help anyone, hurt no one.
But what does it mean for a paint manufacturer to be green today? As we live and learn, Dunn-Edwards strives to be green – by design – in our principles, products, practices and people.
Principles of Eco-Friendly Paint
Dunn-Edwards is firmly committed to the overarching green principle of eco-efficiency. We define “eco-efficiency” as the ability to satisfy human needs in ways that minimize adverse impacts on energy and material resources, environmental quality and human health and safety.
Eco-efficiency gives us the yardstick by which we measure our progress in the continuous improvement of our green performance. For us, eco-efficiency means: “do more good,” principles by optimizing the performance of our paint products, and “do less harm,” by reducing or avoiding the use of harmful ingredients. Other green principles, as reflected throughout our operations, flow from the principle of eco-efficiency: resource conservation, energy efficiency, waste minimization, recycling, emissions reduction, health and safety protection, and social responsibility.
Making Environmentally Healthy Paints
We recognize that paint and coatings are, by their nature, environmentally beneficial. Their function is to beautify, protect and preserve the architectural surfaces of the environment in which we live — and it’s all done with a thin film no more than a few thousandths of an inch thick. A very efficient use of materials!
Our task is to maximize the benefits of paint in three ways:
- Make paints that perform well in protecting and preserving the built environment, thereby conserving energy and material resources.
- Make paints that provide long lasting improvement in the visual quality of our environment.
- Make paints that fill special needs to protect human health and safety, as well as the environment.
Performance is the key ingredient in eco-efficient paint and coatings. Product life cycle analysis of paint shows that high performance — in terms of coverage (less paint per application) and durability (longer service life before re-application) — maximizes environmental benefits, while minimizing ecological burdens. Also, we make our products using the least amount of energy and material resources needed to meet or exceed performance requirements.
What makes Dunn-Edwards paint greener? It’s not only the performance we put into our paint, but also what we leave out. Dunn-Edwards constantly seeks to reduce or avoid the use of potentially harmful ingredients. Consequently, our paint formulations do not include – among other things – asbestos, benzene, cadmium and chromium pigments, chlorinated solvents, dioxin, ethylene glycol, formaldehyde, lead, mercury, methylene chloride, or phthalates.
Finally, Dunn-Edwards invests heavily in research and development efforts aimed at producing the most eco-efficient paint and coatings possible. We pursue every opportunity for cost-effective performance improvements. At the same time, we carefully screen all raw materials for potential health and safety risks and we reduce organic solvent content to the lowest levels that will achieve optimal performance.
Safer Paint Practices
Dunn-Edwards is absolutely committed to full compliance with all applicable environmental, health and safety laws and regulations. This commitment extends companywide, from senior management through line and staff in all departments. Beyond compliance, Dunn-Edwards has a long history of proactively doing more than required, often taking action before any requirement exists. We have voluntarily initiated policies to safeguard the health and safety of our workers and customers, as well as the quality of our shared environment. This is part of our legacy from the earliest days of the company.
Examples of early green initiatives include:
- In the early 1950s, after phasing out most uses of white lead pigment before World War II, Dunn-Edwards discontinued producing our last remaining lead-based paint — an exterior wood primer. The Federal Consumer Products Safety Commission did not ban residential use of lead-containing paints until 1978.
- In the late 1970s, Dunn-Edwards reformulated products to eliminate completely the use of biocides containing mercury. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not impose a limited ban on mercury biocides until 1990. At that time, Dunn-Edwards was one of only two paint manufacturers approved as a supplier of mercury-free paints to county agencies in California.
- In the mid-1980s, Dunn-Edwards replaced ethylene glycol (a toxic solvent widely used in latex paints) with propylene glycol, which performs similarly. Unlike ethylene glycol, however, propylene glycol is non-toxic and is on the FDA’s list of compounds “generally regarded as safe” for use in foods, beverages, cosmetics and medicines. Most paint manufacturers still use ethylene glycol.
Green practices abound in our production and distribution activities. As a regional manufacturer, Dunn-Edwards formulates paints to stand up to the diverse environments of the Southwest. Nowhere else in the world will you find such a range of challenging climates — from the harsh heat of the Mojave Desert, to the cold temperatures of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, to the salty air of the California coast. Our goal: To formulate and produce the best performing products that meet specific needs of challenging environments found around the world, while using the least harmful ingredients possible.
Our system of factory distribution direct to stores promotes energy efficiency in transportation. Within urban areas, we use a system of off-hours distribution to help relieve traffic congestion and reduce vehicular air pollution.
Our chain-wide store delivery service also helps reduce traffic congestion and air pollution. Instead of driving to a store, our customers can have material delivered to their jobsite, shop or home. Dunn-Edwards delivery trucks generally make two rounds per day, eliminating (on average) anywhere from 50 to 100 individual consumer trips daily per store. With nearly 150 stores throughout our service region, up to 15,000 consumer trips are avoided daily.
In our factory operations, Dunn-Edwards engages in a comprehensive waste minimization and recycling program that is supported by management and employees. We currently recycle more than 95 percent of our process waste stream. Also, manufacturing procedures are continually examined for opportunities to reduce or prevent generation of process waste.
Recent actions and practices include:
- In 2011, we opened the world’s first LEED® Gold-certified paint manufacturing facility, located in Phoenix, AZ. Encompassing manufacturing, product development, quality control laboratories, a distribution center, retail outlet and office space, the 336,000-sq. ft. facility was custom designed to be the greenest in the coatings industry.
- Our new Phoenix factory incorporates innovative equipment and protocols, such as unique high-efficiency process equipment with integrated dust-suppression technology so that no particulates are emitted to ambient air, and advanced processing techniques to eliminate disposal of liquid waste.
- Use of on-site raw material storage tanks and returnable semi-bulk containers dramatically reduces the number of metal and fiber drums sent from our factory for disposal or reconditioning.
- We crush and recycle metal containers, cardboard boxes and paper, as well as repair and reuse old wooden pallets to minimize trash, with the goal of becoming a “zero-discharge” facility.
- In April 2012, Dunn-Edwards announced the launch of zeroVOC colorants, which eliminate a significant source of added volatile organic compounds in paint. This new technology allowed Dunn-Edwards to make greener paint and to comply early with future regulatory limits on VOC in colorants used for tinting paint.
People, Pollution & Paint
Beyond the physical environment, the idea of green extends to how we care for our social environment. Humans are, by nature, social beings. Much of what we accomplish is done in cooperation — or in competition — with others. Therefore, principled actions are needed to ensure that fundamental values of fairness and honesty prevail. Dunn-Edwards respects the inherent worth of each individual, and we strive to conduct all our business with the highest sense of ethics, integrity and responsibility. This includes dealings with employees, customers, suppliers, government agencies, communities where we do business and the public at large — to make a positive contribution to the well-being of all. As a company, we endeavor to treat every employee with the respect due a family member. Our expectation is that this respect will then be conveyed by Dunn-Edwards employees to all those outside the company.
Examples of the ways in which we care for, and engage with, our social environment include:
- Through various methods and media, Dunn-Edwards seeks to promote environmental awareness among our employees, customers and others. Additionally, we solicit input from all sources on how we can improve our green performance.
- We provide our customers and the public with comprehensive health and safety information on our products, as well as recommendations on appropriate uses and methods for handling, storage and disposal. We recently became the first paint company to label products with RAVOC® values—Reactivity-Adjusted VOC Content, which is a better way to measure potential air quality impacts of coatings.
- As a corporate “good citizen,” Dunn-Edwards has long been an active participant in the environmental regulatory process, always with the goal of ensuring that rules and standards for the paint industry are equitable and consistent with maximum eco-efficiency.
- Dunn-Edwards engaged in a “national paint dialogue” coordinated by the Product Stewardship Institute, along with U.S. EPA, 33 state and local waste management agencies, the American Coatings Association, paint retailers and contractors. The dialogue resulted in the highly successful PaintCare Program – a nationally-coordinated, industry managed and funded system for collecting unwanted leftover paint and recovering its resource value.
- Dunn-Edwards has long sponsored basic scientific research as a member of NARSTO, an international program to study the formation and control of ground-level ozone, a key component of urban smog. We were actively involved in organizing and managing NARSTO’s VOC Reactivity Research Working Group, which produced reports used by the U.S. EPA and the California Air Resources Board.
- Along with the American Coatings Association, we initiated a scientific research project involving the Environmental Research Institute at the University of California, Riverside. This project succeeded in laying the foundation for a comprehensive assessment of the environmental impacts of architectural coatings. Results will be useful in guiding future development of the most eco-efficient coatings possible.
At Dunn-Edwards, our mission has always been to provide the best performing paint, in an environmentally sound manner to protect the health and well being of our customers. We were a disciplined leader in the concept of green product manufacturing long before it became popular.
From our ingredients, to labeling, to our LEED Gold-certified paint manufacturing facility, we strive to continue our green legacy and provide you with eco-efficient products.
Ethylene Glycol (EG), a solvent often used in water-based paints, is listed as a Toxic Air Contaminant (TAC) and Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP). In 1983, we were the first in the industry to voluntarily replace EG with Propylene Glycol, a non-toxic alternative “generally regarded as safe” by the FDA. Also, every Dunn-Edwards product with the EG-Free™ logo is free of any other TAC or HAP, too.
VOC and RAVOC Ratings on Every Label.Dunn-Edwards is the first paint company to label its products with RAVOC ratings — Reactivity-Adjusted VOC Content — a better way to measure how much a coating might affect air quality.
Dunn-Edwards Zero VOC colorants perform the same as conventional colorants, but with no added VOC solvents. So Zero VOC paint can remain truly Zero VOC, even when tinted to the deepest colors. Also, unlike colorants used by some other paint companies, Dunn-Edwards Zero VOC colorants are free of any U.S. EPA "Chemicals of Concern." Please see Current Chemical Risk Reduction Activities for additional information.
In 2011, Dunn-Edwards opened the world’s first and only LEED Gold-certified paint manufacturing facility in Phoenix, AZ. Encompassing manufacturing, product development, quality control and more, the 336,000-sq. ft. facility is designed to be the greenest in the industry.
For more information, see our greener by design® brochure .
To learn about our corporate social responsibility, click here.
‘LEED’ and related logo is a trademark owned by the U.S. Green Building Council and is used with permission.