Five green decorating solutions

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Spring home projects don’t have to mean increasing the toxic load on the planet or in your abode. We’ve rounded up some sensible tools and eco-friendly products with less negative impact on the health of your home and the planet (which, btw, are kinda the same thing.)

Soy Gel

1. Add a new color, not chemicals
Prepping your walls for a new coat of paint with chemical solvents means introducing notoriously toxic substances into your home and the environment. Franmar Chemical’s Soy Gel Paint and Urethane Remover is an effective, nontoxic, odor-free alternative for removing old paint from walls and varnish from wood floors. It’s also harmless to skin and because there are no toxic fumes, it’s safe to use indoors. The soy-based product removes paints, urethanes, acrylics, epoxies and enamels, and is ideal for lead-based paints. And its thick gel consistency prevents lead from escaping into the air. (Available at Rockler Hardware: five gallons $274.99, one gallon $64.99 and quart $20.99. 1-877-ROCKLER. www.rockler.com)

PRO_w.2nd_Bristle

2. Stop tossing your paintbrushes
Every year, in North America alone, more than 500 million used paintbrushes end up in landfills. Usually, the only part that needs replacing is the bristles. Kwick Clean and Green Envirobrush is the forever brush. Its replaceable bristle head means also avoiding brush-cleaning solvents and allows for easy mid-job paint color changeover. (Brushes from $5.95, refills from $3.95. www.envirobrush.com)

FarrowandBall2

3. Choose an eco-conscious brand
Choosing paint colors and wallpapers is the fun part of room makeovers. But unwrap a roll of wallpaper or uncap a can of paint, and the room is filled with obnoxious ink fumes. Farrow & Ball crafts its non-acrylic paints with more natural ingredients and extremely low VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Their wallpapers use eco-friendly FSC-approved paper and are printed with Farrow & Ball’s own low VOC water-based paint. Utilizing more water-based, rather than oil-based, paints benefits the environment both in production and waste disposal. (www.farrow-ball.com)

Mixing_Mate

4. Find smart solutions
Take the drama out of painting with Mixing Mate. This nifty paint can lid makes mixing paint easy via a turbine operated with a simple crank. It virtually eliminates drips and spills, and provides easy storage for unused paint. Less mess means less cleanup, which means less water consumption and less paint in the water supply. And fewer messy stir sticks in the landfill. ($19.99 for a gallon; $14.99 for a quart, www.rockler.com.)

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5. Opt for sustainable wood
Work on your projects with the ultra-stylish Areaware Wood Tool Set. It’s made from sustainable harvested new growth beech wood and includes a level, 36-inch folding ruler, LED flashlight, and screwdriver with interchangeable flat and Phillips heads. ($95, www.westelm.com)



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