Evaluating and Forecasting Environmentally-Responsible Sealcoatings

In recent years there has been a deliberate attempt by manufacturers to label their products as “green.” This tag is often too far fetched and doesn’t even come close to being true in regards to sealcoatings though. I purposely refrain from using the “green” when describing the new generation of sealcoatings that are under development – I would rather use a more accurate term, “ER” (Environmentally Responsible). If you are curious as to what is developing in this field, here is a peek into the direction that the sealcoating industry is heading.    
Logically, ER coatings should be durable, contain renewable and recycled materials, and have minimal impact on the environment both during application and after it has abraded away.

Performance and durability should be major criteria of ER coatings; they should provide years of performance similar to the coatings that are used currently. A durable coating means lesser frequency in sealcoating cycles, thus reducing the accumulation of abraded material in the bodies of water and eventually in sediments. ER coatings should be formulated with durable raw materials that will withstand the rigors of the weather when applied at recommended coverage rates. The binder backbone itself will have to be resistant to the damaging elements. 

The development of such ER sealcoatings requires a partnership between raw material suppliers, manufacturers and applicators though. In recent years, some forward-thinking industry members have addressed the issues facing our industry and have done diligent work in developing new materials for formulating ER coatings. Bio-renewable and biodegradable polymers and resins are also being currently evaluated. It’s the manufacturers of specialty chemicals, surfactants, emulsifiers and solvents with like-minded ER goals who have supported these efforts. 

Environmental concerns and responsibilities: In recent years more and more sealcoating 
professionals, with the help of their suppliers, have demonstrated ample concern in preserving the environment by adhering to Best Management Practices (BMPs) for the handling of sealcoatings. It is imperative that manufacturers stay current with all applicable regulations and share all pertinent information with their customers regarding the composition, safety in handling, application techniques, care in clean up and proper disposal. 

Material Safety Data Sheets (now called Safety Data Sheets or SDS) have been considerably expanded in compliance to a Globally Harmonized System. This provides better safeguarding of the health and safety of workers, as well as the environment. Manufacturers have to make absolutely sure that their customers (professional applicators) understand the product and their responsibility in following recommendations in handling, application and disposal. Most major suppliers have special seminars and refresher workshops dedicated to product knowledge, safety and awareness.

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