Using and managing solvents

Solvent limits in paints and varnishes

If you place paints and varnishes on the market that contain organic solvents (volatile organic compounds (VOCs)) you must ensure that they comply with the relevant limit value. These restrict the amount of solvent that the ready-to-use product can contain.

Manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers, including businesses that only mix paint, must check the VOC content of their products.

The table below shows the maximum VOC content limit values for paints and varnishes. The limit values are stated in grams per litre (g/l) when the product is ready to use.

Maximum VOC content limit values for paints and varnishes

Product*

Coating type

VOC limit (g/l))

Interior matt walls and ceilings (degree of gloss ≤25 at 60°)

Water borne

30

Solvent borne

30

Interior glossy walls and ceilings (degree of gloss >25 at 60°)

Water borne

100

Solvent borne

100

Exterior walls of mineral substrate

Water borne

40

Solvent borne

430

Interior/exterior trim and cladding paints for wood and metal

Water borne

130

Solvent borne

300

Interior/exterior trim varnishes and woodstains, including opaque woodstains

Water borne

130

Solvent borne

400

Interior and exterior minimal build woodstains

Water borne

130

Solvent borne

700

Primers

Water borne

30

Solvent borne

350

Binding primers

Water borne

30

Solvent borne

750

One-pack performance coatings

Water borne

140

Solvent borne

500

Two-pack reactive performance coatings for specific end use, eg floors

Water borne

140

Solvent borne

500

Multi-coloured coatings

Water borne

100

Solvent borne

100

Decorative effect coatings

Water borne

200

Solvent borne

200

*For a more detailed definition of the products covered, read schedule 2 of:

The Volatile Organic Compounds in Paints, Varnishes and Vehicle Refinishing Products Regulations 2012

 In this guideline

Introduction

What are organic solvents?

Pollution prevention and control permits for solvent emissions

Why you should monitor your solvent use and emissions

How to monitor your solvent emissions

Using your solvent emissions data

Managing your solvents efficiently

Reducing solvent use in production and cleaning processes

Reusing and recovering solvents

Storing and using solvents

Solvent limits in paints and varnishes

Solvent limits in vehicle refinishing products

Solvent emissions environmental legislation