Sustainable Painting Practices
“Within six months, every state will be running courses on sustainable painting practices,” predicts Mark Amos, CEO of Master Painters of Victoria and National Secretary of the Master Painters of Australia. “The two that haven’t implemented it – South Australia and the ACT – are in the process of putting it all together at the moment.” The course runs over 12 hours, with three assessable activities conducted outside the classroom. The cost of doing the course is “about $500,” according to Amos. Key topics covered in the program include sustainable painting practices, workplace safety for painters, waste and recycling, identifying best practices and resources for the sustainable painting industry, responding to consumer needs in preparation for work, and continuous improvement to deliver industry best practice. Graduates will be able to identify and use renewable resources and materials, as well as provide advice on the benefits of sustainable painting practices to clients.
It is expected that program participants hold a trade qualification in painting and decorating, a vocational competency equivalent to a painting trade qualification or appropriate vocational competencies in a related design or construction field that includes knowledge of painting practices. In short, those who are likely to qualify include painters, architects, builders, contract estimators and specifiers. The ramifications of the course, however, stretch beyond that group. “Retailers are going to have to become educated on low VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) so they can then advise consumers,” says Amos.
Consumers will also benefit through painters being more knowledgeable about products that can protect indoor air quality, for example, or carbon-friendly paints that reflect heat, as well as EPA compliance. And socially, as consumer demand grows for sustainable paints and paint-related products, the industry will be better prepared to meet that demand through having more qualified, informed operators. Operators will be able to decrease their impact on the environment through reduced water consumption and a reduction in the exposure levels of VOCs. As part of the Victorian launch, Australian Paint Manufacturers Federation CEO, Richard Phillips, outlined a strategy to implement a trade paint waste collection scheme that would be industry driven and aimed at paint waste streams from both the retail and trade markets. An application to introduce a small levy on paint manufacturers is currently being considered through the ACCC, with concerns raised by them being addressed before a pilot scheme can go ahead. For that reason, an initial target date of January 1 for introducing the scheme has been postponed until the relevant approvals are given.
For a list of organisations delivering Sustainable Painting Practice training, visit www.resourcesmart.vic.gov.au or contact your state’s Master Painters Association. MD