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Eco-friendly finishes and sustainable coatings play a vital role in safeguarding and protecting the components of washroom products. They not only enhance the aesthetic appeal but also extend the life of these products, preserving the natural resources used in their manufacturing, particularly steel.

As a provider of commercial washroom products, Dolphin Solutions frequently emphasises the benefits and significance of sustainable coatings for commercial washroom products to our clients. We help them in selecting optimal finishes for their washroom design, as it is crucial to look at sustainable coatings that provide durability and environmental friendliness in the pursuit of sustainability.

Let’s explore the world of sustainable coatings for commercial washroom products, highlighting some of the most eco-friendly finishes available and discussing their recyclable properties. We will also examine the existing standards and regulations governing specialty coatings in the UK and explore the sustainability of the coating application process itself.

The information provided is for general guidance purposes only with genuine goodwill. Consulting with a Washroom Specialist can help determine the most sustainable coatings for washroom products.

Special finish and eco-friendly coating for a hand dryer in fired gold colour

What are the most eco-friendly coatings for washroom products?

Some of the most popular and sustainable coatings for washroom products include the following types of finishes:

Physical Vapour Deposition

PVD coatings can offer durable and long lasting sustainable coatings solutions, which can reduce the need for frequent replacements. This can contribute to resource conservation and waste reduction in the long run. A PVD finish using biocompatible and environmentally friendly materials can be considered more sustainable.

Ceramic Coating

Ceramic specialty coatings are made from inorganic materials and can provide durable and protective finishes. They are often resistant to chemicals, heat, and wear, making them suitable for washroom products.

Polyester Powder Coat

Polyester Powder Coat is solvent-free and produces minimal waste. It has low VOC emissions and can be applied without the use of harmful chemicals.

What are the recyclable properties of eco-friendly finishes?

Can you recycle PVD coatings?

Physical Vapour Deposition processes do not impact the recycling value of the stainless-steel base materials. PVD processes are more environmentally friendly than most alternative coating processes, as no harmful gases or substances are released, and there is no waste generated. Only a few microns of metallic components are applied to the surface of the products through Physical Vapour Deposition.

Can you recycle Ceramic coatings?

With Ceramic application, all solvents used for cleaning can be recycled and reused, minimising waste. Additionally, all coated parts can be easily recoated, either in case of issues at the point of quality control or for refinishing in the future. This helps prolong the life of washroom products and reduces the need for manufacturing new ones.

Can you recycle PPC coatings?

The powder coating paint on washroom products can be recycled, given that the coater has made the necessary investment. Not only does this contribute to a more sustainable approach, but it also helps reduce waste and promote circularity in the manufacturing process.

The powder coating used is lead-free, ensuring that the unit can be safely recycled at the end of its life cycle.

Black specialty coating on commercial washroom touch-free taps and soap dispensers

Are there regulations relating to specialty coatings on washroom products?

Requirements and standards for sustainable coatings used on washroom products within the UK are primarily governed by local regulations, such as REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals) and other applicable UK laws and guidelines related to chemical safety, consumer protection, and environmental regulations. Some of the regulations include:

    • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Compliance
      VOC compliance refers to meeting the regulatory limits on Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) emitted from specialty coatings. VOC compliance means that the coating formulation adheres to the maximum allowable VOC content set by relevant regulations or standards.In the United Kingdom (UK), for example, VOC regulations are in place to control emissions and promote sustainable practices. The UK has its own limits and requirements for VOC content in various products, including sustainable coatings.


    • REACH Regulation (EU Regulation 1907/2006/EG)
      REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals) is a comprehensive regulation that governs the production, import, and use of chemicals within the European Economic Area (EEA). It aims to protect human health and the environment by ensuring the safe handling and use of chemicals, including substances used in special coatings.If a special coating contains substances that are subject to registration under REACH, the manufacturer or importer must comply with the relevant requirements, such as registration, evaluation, and communication of information downstream. This applies to coatings used in various applications, including those used for washroom products.


    • Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS)
      RoHS is a directive that restricts the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), including components and coatings. Specialty coatings applied to washroom products that fall under the scope of RoHS, such as those used in electrical or electronic components within the washroom products, must comply with the restricted substance limits outlined in the RoHS directive.Manufacturers and importers of washroom products are responsible for ensuring compliance with RoHS regulations by using coatings that meet the restricted substance requirements. Compliance may involve obtaining material declarations or testing for the presence and concentration of restricted substances in the coatings used.


  • Proposition 65 (Prop 65)
    Proposition 65 (Prop 65) is a California state law in the United States, and its compliance is not directly applicable to washroom products sold in the United Kingdom (UK). While Prop 65 compliance may not be a legal requirement in the UK, some manufacturers and suppliers may voluntarily adopt Prop 65 standards or similar practices as part of their commitment to product safety and consumer protection.

Is the material and application process sustainable?

Environmental Impact / Material SelectionTypically a solvent-free coating which can be considered more environmentally friendly compared to solvent-based coatings. They release minimal to no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during application.Ceramic coatings are generally free from harmful substances and do not release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during application.Some PVD coatings, such as those utilising environmentally friendly materials like titanium nitride (TiN) or chromium nitride (CrN), can be considered more sustainable.
Energy EfficiencyThe application process involves a curing stage where the coated item is heated to melt and cure the powder. This curing process requires energy, typically in the form of heat.The application process for ceramic coatings requires energy and often involves thermal curing, where the coated item is subjected to high temperatures for bonding and curing.These processes can consume significant amounts of energy.
Durability and LongevityPolyester powder coat is known for its durability, scratch resistance, and weatherability. When applied to a washroom product, they can provide long-lasting protection, reducing the need for frequent replacements. This contributes to resource conservation and waste reduction in the long run.Ceramic is known for its durability and resistance to corrosion, wear, and chemicals. By applying a ceramic coating to a washroom product, its lifespan can be extended, reducing the need for frequent replacements, and reducing waste.PVD is known for its durability and wear resistance. By applying a PVD coating to a washroom product, its longevity and resistance to corrosion can be improved, minimising the frequency of replacements, and significantly reducing waste generation.
Teal coloured sustainable finish seen on this manual tap, toilet roll holder, and other washroom products

Which is the best sustainable finish?

Comparing these sustainable coatings for washroom products is subjective and depends on various factors.

In terms of overall eco-friendliness, polyester powder coat is often considered a highly sustainable coating option due to its low VOC emissions, waste reduction capabilities, and wide range of available colours. Ceramic finishes can also be a sustainable coating, given their use of inorganic materials, but the energy consumption during curing should be considered. PVD coatings can be sustainable due to their low VOC emissions, but the energy consumption associated with the vacuum process may be higher.

Ultimately, the choice of the best eco-friendly finish between these sustainable coatings depends on specific requirements, performance expectations, and a holistic assessment of the entire coating process, including material sourcing, waste management, energy consumption, and end-of-life considerations.