A unique, four-year partnership between America’s soybean farmers and the Sherwin-Williams Company has received the Presidential Green Chemistry Award from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The honor recognizes the development of an innovative new paint formulation that utilizes soybean oil and recycled plastic bottles (PET) and reduces volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by 60%.
The EPA presented Sherwin-Williams Company of Cleveland, OH, with one of five 2011 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards during a ceremony in Washington, DC on June 20. EPA also recognized USB for its role in the development of the product.
“We know as farmers that we’re doing things that are environmentally safe, greener and sustainable,” says Bob Haselwood, USB Director & News Uses Chairman, who accepted the certificate of recognition on behalf of USB. “By using soybeans in products like those developed by Sherwin-Williams, more people will realize how the soybean industry is playing a part in the green revolution.”
Sherwin-Williams, with soybean checkoff funding and technical support from USB, developed water-based acrylic alkyd paints with low VOCs that can be made from soybean oil, PET and acrylics. Oil-based "alkyd" paints have high levels of VOCs that become air pollutants as the paint dries. Previous acrylic paints contained lower VOCs, but could not match the performance of alkyds. These new paints combine the performance benefits of alkyds and low VOC content of acrylics. The soybean oil helps to promote film formation, gloss, flexibility, and cure.
In 2010, Sherwin-Williams manufactured enough of these new paints to eliminate over 800,000 pounds of VOCs. The company has used 320,000 pounds of soybean oil, 250,000 pounds of PET, and eliminated 1,000 barrels of oil.