Vegan Scene


The DIY Dilemma
November 13, 2010, 8:36 pm
Filed under: ethos/philosophy | Tags: , , , ,
Ecos paints diy vegan casein

This is ECOS animal-product free paint, but I'm not too certain about their plastic pot...

By Daley

Despite all the vegan ethos and yummy homegrown food that gets cooked up around here, things are not always as pretty as they seem. Over the past week, we have been trying to get our heads around the sheer depth of animal consumption and how it infects many aspects of our lives. Sometimes, no matter how hard we think we are trying to avoid it, the results of mankind’s animal exploitation creep up and bite us from the most unlikely of places. This is a cautionary tale of one such occasion.

We have spent the past few months without a fully functioning bathroom, mainly due to the fact that it was never really installed properly to begin with. The walls and floor were bare, and our bathtub was positioned against a window so that we couldn’t add a shower. There were pipes laying all over the place, and  the whole thing looked like it had been fitted by a bunch of cowboys on there lunch break, which as it happens, was the case (but we knew all this when we bought the house…). So,anyway over the past year, I have spent a great deal of time re-routing pipe work,replacing a non existent lintel that should have been above the window, re-laying the floor, plastering the walls, and basically trying to get the place into a basic useable standard. We have gotten to the tiling and painting stage, and it is here where we’ve become conscious of a snag that has always been there.

I was in search of some paint, some gloss paint in particular, for the frame around the bathroom door. I was looking through the endless shades of white and comparing the prices when the warning sign on the side of a tin caught my attention; “Warning: Volotile Organic Compounds content 50 to 70 percent.” I’ve always known that mainstream construction material has a horrible impact on the earth and have a deep interest in “green” alternatives, but suddenly it hit me that I really couldn’t buy another tub of white paint from B & Q.  What on earth would make me want to chuck that stuff around my house? No, in this day and age, there has to be some other product out there that isn’t going to give my body a toxic cocktail. Back home to Google!

I ended up at this site: http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/FreeBuyersGuides/HomeGarden/paintgloss.aspx

The most worrying  yet informative part of the site was the “Animal Ingredients” section. I found out that not only do conventional, everyday paints contain toxic substances that are bad for our health, they are also full of an animal product called casein, which has now become the major part of my living nightmare.

You see, whenever I see a vegan label or decide something is vegan, I will always wonder if this casein i lurking in the packaging (and so will you after reading this). Casein is made from milk and is a product often used in just about everything you can think of that is made from plastic.This article just about covers anything else you might want to know about what products may contain casein:   http://nzic.org.nz/ChemProcesses/dairy/3E.pdf

So, if after you have digested that, and you  haven’t decided to paint the walls a nice shade of red from your freshly slit wrists, you might want to take a trip over to ECOS paints, should you require something less subtle to cover your walls (http://www.ecospaints.com).

Now, the climbing doesn’t get any easier the farther you get up the mountain. For a start there is the price of this stuff. Five litres of white currently runs at £29. 62 , add around a fiver if you want a colour, then add £8 for shipping, because nobody stocks this paint, and you can only buy it direct from ECOS. Don’t forget to add the tax!

I ordered 5 litres of a colour and 1 litre of white gloss. With all that added, it came to a total of £66. And although it isn’t necessarily ECOS Paints’ fault, I am still waiting for the paint to be delivered, 8 days after ordering it. I wonder how many bacon butties have been eaten by the handlers of my lost-in-transit tins of paint.

By comparison, I could have nipped to  the DIY store and bought the conventional equivalent of ECOS paints for around £35-£40 and finished painting my bathroom that evening. I am glad to have bought the ECOS paint over the other options, but it has caused me some headaches. I would like to have posted about what it was like to work with it, however i am still waiting for it to arrive!

To conclude, I’m left thinking about several questions relative to vegan consumerism. How vegan is any product, packaging, or company? A particular product might not contain any animal products, but what about the packaging? I’m quite concerned now that all the “wonderful” plastic products we use and buy will contain casein or some other animal product, and the fact that we may never know for sure is cause for concern.