High quality with an eye to man and the environment

Royal Talens is a household name when it comes to artists' materials. Across the world professional and amateur artists use the quality products of Royal Talens. Royal Talens has earned its position as a preferred brand through its constant efforts to improve its products ever since it was founded in 1899. Every product that leaves the Royal Talens plant meets the highest requirements at all times, both in terms of quality as well as safety for man and environment.

'In the formulation and production of paint Royal Talens takes into account any harmful side effects for man and the environment as much as possible,' explains Bert Klein Ovink. Bert is Research & Development manager at Royal Talens and in charge of the chemical activities at the company. In the formulation of the Royal Talens products the use of harmful raw materials is kept to an absolute minimum. Constant product development ensures that non-toxic alternatives are used as much as possible in response to any new insights into the harmfulness of the raw materials. This sometimes requires some degree of creativity. If in the end it turns out it is not possible or desirable to replace certain harmful substances, then the product is given a hazard label. Bert: 'A few years ago it was determined that zinc white - a pigment that is used a lot in the formulation of artists' colours - was harmful to the water environment. With the exception of the whites themselves, we have been able to replace most colours with a harmless alternative.'

Natural better?

Formulating and producing quality paint in a sustainable manner is a complex process. Replacing one ingredient with a 'natural equivalent' usually doesn't do much for the quality. Royal Talens often uses synthetic pigments for the production of its paint, as these have a significantly more constant quality. What's more, not everything that is natural is necessarily safe. Bert: 'Many people think that everything natural is good and harmless by definition. That is a great misconception. There are many toxic substances in nature that form the basis of paint ingredients. In the olden days when manufacturing certain paints we used, for example, lead pigments as an ingredient. This is lead that has undergone a chemical reaction. Lead compounds, however, are highly toxic and for that reason we have not been using these pigments for more than a decade now.'

Purer separation

Our production of the various types and amounts of paint involves a great deal of cleaning. Nearly all paint kettles and machine parts are cleaned with soap and water instead of solvents. Purely from an environmental point of view. 'And this is where we find the biggest profit,' explains Bert. Since the paint particles are too fine to be filtered directly from the water, Royal Talens uses another, smarter methodology. The solid particles are separated from the water using an ingenious system.

Bert: 'An extensive drainage system runs underneath the plant. All drains lead to a large 80-cubic metre basin. All the waste water from the entire plant is collected here. Through the flocculation process - where certain chemical substances are added - the paint particles coagulate and sink to the bottom. We then press the waste water through a filter machine in which the solid particles are left behind forming a cake-like layer. This cake is removed and transported away as chemical waste. The filtered water that remains meets the standards of the district water board and is therefore allowed to go into the sewer system.'

FSC® label

For Royal Talens producing in a sustainable manner is much more than just safe, environmentally-aware choices for safe and effective waste separation. It also involves taking care of and providing aftercare for the environment and the immediate surrounding area. For that reason Royal Talens increasingly has its wooden products, such as easels, stretched canvases, brushes and paint and pencil boxes, produced using sustainable wood with the FSC trademark.

This wood meets the guidelines of the Forest Stewardship Council®. This organisation sets global standards for the sustainable management of forests, carefully balancing the interests of man, the environment and the economy. For every felled tree, a new one is planted to help combat deforestation. The ArtCreation line of products is already fully made of FSC wood and it is expected that the entire Royal Talens line of products will also be produced from wood that bears the FSC label.'

Worldwide support

The FSC label is supported the world over by every major environmental and development organisation, trade unions and international businesses. The FSC is the only organisation with an independent and consistent standardisation and certification system that can be used worldwide for all types of forests and plantations. You do not obtain the label just like that. You first of all have to meet strict criteria and apply them throughout your organisation. Each year the FSC tests whether your working practices are entirely in line with the set requirements. It is certainly quite a challenge, but it produces a clean and rewarding result!'

Royal Talens uses only those cadmium pigments that meet the strictest health and environment requirements.