It’s well known that our team makes a big effort to improve our environmental footprint and ensure our containers are used sustainably. When news surfaced that manufacturers are phasing out solvent based paints from the production process and instead are replacing them with low VOC paints, we were thrilled!

The news appeared in July 2016, when shipping container manufacturers entered into a new agreement to change their production process. This substantial shift in the shipping container manufacturing implements stricter environmental standards to support the adoption of water based paints.

The agreement anticipates that by the end of year 2017, all container manufacturers will comply with new regulations and start using water based paints. This is a major shift for the industry and an even greater one for the industry’s environmental impact!

The science behind conventional solvent based paint and the environmental damages it creates are a direct result of the drying process after the paint is applied on the surface of the shipping container. The drying process takes approx. four hours and during this time, potentially harmful solvents are released. The advantage of waterborne paint is that it contains a significantly less concentrated amount of solvents. When it dries, a much lower concentration of solvents is released.

The downside of using water borne paint is that it takes much longer to dry, about 20 hours per container. It also means that shipping container manufacturers have to upgrade their facilities to accommodate for this change. Regardless, it’s a small cost to pay considering the environmental benefit gained.

Although the change applies to one trip (new) shipping container production, we’re happy to announce that we already adopted the water based paint option for our new containers. As part of the ATS difference, we also made a commitment to implement this same low VOC paint in our used shipping container units. This means that whenever we repair or modify a used container, we use water soluble paint to minimize our environmental footprint.