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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Companies offer eco-friendly whiteboard

Kristin Arrigo

Spring is a great season renovate one room at a time. Painting the walls is another way to give an uplifting look to a room. If that room happens to be a playroom, a new paint job may even give the illusion it’s more organized, neater, or even cleaner, than it actually is. But maybe painting isn’t enough, and you want to designate one wall for your children’s artistic aspirations. In the past, all you would need is a giant piece of recycled paper from one of those long tube rolls taped up against the wall. But nowadays, the invention of the eraser wall is the more trendy, popular choice. The magic of the whiteboard is that you can erase your artwork and do it all over again, and since you can’t do that with a roll of recycled paper taped to the wall, it’s worthwhile to check out eco-friendly choices.

Eraser coat is sometimes referred to as whiteboard. It is used in offices as well as for playrooms. You wouldn’t think something so manufactured could be made into an eco-friendly product, but Eraser Cote from TexCote, isn’t too bad. TexCote is located in Florida and is known for coatings that are heat reflective. This is popular down there where the sun shines so much that lowering the air conditioning bills with a simple coat of heat reflective paint is a popular choice. Eraser Cote is among the company’s eco-friendly coatings. Eraser cote is water soluble. The company doesn’t even make a solvent-based eraser coat. That, combined with the company being an eco-friendly manufacturer for so long, leads me to believe it has perfected its water-soluble version of eraser coat. Other competitors only offer it as a choice, but it never seems to work as well, so they keep a solvent-based product on the market.

Competitors include Sherwin Williams, a name everybody has heard of, and it has an entire eco-friendly line. The company’s whiteboard coating is offered in water and solvent formulas, of which the solvent is more popular. Solvents are stinky. They smell, and of course, strong odors come from chemicals. Eraser coat of any type involves mixing two things together, which guarantees a chemical process will take place.

Water and solvent take time to fully dry – about 30 days. Companies say the wall you coat is ready to be used in seven days, but the actual “curing” time is 30 days. Seven days might fly if you are simply moving furniture back into the room, but a child whose face is only inches away from the wall for maybe an hour or so … sounds like chemical buzz is on its way. So the 30 days is well worth the wait. Both products need to be applied in well-ventilated areas and by more than one person. At least you know what you’re in for, even with the eco-improvements to this trending favorite.

Of course, the roll of recycled paper taped up to the wall is the more eco-friendly choice, but it’s good to know some companies are keeping the environment in mind while keeping up with the times.

Kristin Arrigo is an environmental writer and can be reached at karrigo@nashuatelegraph.com. Follow her on Twitter @ArrigoKristin. Only Better runs the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month.