On 1 January 2007, new regulations come into force in the EU to combat air pollution. Bona welcomes this new directive as it is in line with the company’s environmental policy. The new directive sets limits for the content of VOCs (Volatile organic compounds), which are found in products such as floor finishes, decorative paints and coatings for cars. The restrictions on the amount of VOCs in paints and finishes come into force in two stages in 2007 and 2010. All Bona’s water-borne finishes for wooden floors already comply with the limits in the new legislation.
When solvents evaporate, the fumes have an impact on levels of ozone found near the ground. This ozone is the most dangerous component of smog. Smog can hang like a low cloud over cities and towns affecting both people and plants. The problem of solvents is nothing new for Bona. As early as the mid-1970s, Bona was among the first to reduce solvents in its products. The long-term drive to develop water-borne finishes has been of major importance to the company’s environmental work. Today, the solvent content of Bona’s water-borne finishes is 100 g/l or less, within the limits of the EU directive.
“For many years, we have improved the performance and safety of our products. For us, meeting the regulations from the authorities is not a goal in itself – we aim to go below the minimum legal limits,” says Bona’s environmental manager Arne Wallin.
Bringing out the best in wooden floors “Our aim is always to develop environmentally sound products of high quality in order to bring out the best in wooden floors, which is our vision, says Arne Wallin. The products should be simple to use, contain renewable ingredients and meet the needs of the market.”
Products with a content of organic solvents in excess of the new limits are allowed to be manufactured until the end of 2006. These products are then allowed to be sold during 2007. Further restrictions will be placed on products with effect from 2010, which will mean that some of Bona’s current finishes can no longer be sold.
“We do not mind that the regulations will become stricter in future as the finishes affected would have been phased out anyway. All of Bona’s current water-borne products already meet the coming European regulations for 2010 thanks to the intensive research and development done by Bona. The remaining products containing solvents will either be phased out or reformulated. The market for solvent-based finishes will be seriously affected by the new regulations but Bona will not be badly affected as the company has good water-based alternatives for those products that have to be phased out,” says Arne Wallin.