Ever wonder how the things we use are colored black? Typically, it’s done with a pigment called carbon black, and it’s both a carcinogen and largely environmentally unfriendly. Thankfully, Jane Palmer of Nature Coatings Inc. discovered an alternative.
“Nature Coatings incorporated in 2018. And we provide a black pigment that’s made from wood waste from FSC® certified sources,” says Jane Palmer, CEO of Nature Coatings Inc.
Nature Coatings was founded by Jane Palmer in 2018. Jane has worked with pigments and dyes in the apparel industry for over 15 years. She opened Noon Design Studio, the first dye house in the United States to specialize in using plant-based dyes, in 2010. After recognizing the demand and interest in plant-based dyes, but also understanding their limitations such as poor colorfastness, higher cost, excessive use of water and inconsistent results, she turned her focus to developing modern and sustainable high performing bio-based pigments.
“Our pigment is a direct replacement for petroleum carbon black pigment. Petroleum carbon black pigment is made by burning fossil fuels, the soot is collected, and that becomes the color, or the pigment. That manufacturing process contributes millions of tons of CO2 every year, and of course, it’s made from fossil fuels. That pigment also contains carcinogens. And it’s used everywhere, it’s the color used on my laptop keyboard, it’s on prints on our clothes and we’re all touching this pigment all the time.”
Since the company’s founding in 2018, the Nature Coatings team has successfully developed a new black pigment for mass markets.
“We have developed a direct replacement for carbon black pigment made from wood waste. And what is exciting to our customers, and to us, is that we’re eliminating fossil fuels completely from the pigment source. So that’s something that’s really important in terms of climate change, and sustainability and moving forward. Additionally, our manufacturing process cuts CO2 emissions by 70%. And because it’s made from wood waste, it does not contain any carcinogens. So it’s a lot healthier and safer. For everyone.”
Jane Palmer has received two prestigious National Science Foundation Awards, and Nature Coatings has participated in Fashion for Good’s Accelerator Program, is currently participating in Fashion for Good’s Scaling Program, and is a portfolio company at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator.
Nature Coatings transforms wood waste into high-performing black pigments. The wood waste is from FSC® certified sources.
“We want to ensure our products are not destroying hardwood rainforests, they’re not coming from a source that’s really problematic. And the FSC system gives us huge confidence and security that we are using responsibly logged wood waste, which is really important to us and to our customers.”
Nature Coating’s manufacturing process is closed-loop and a circular system. Our process emits negligible amounts of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.
“It was really important to use a waste stream just to create a circular type of economy. It’s important that our waste product, again, is sourced from an environmental stewardship, a labor stewardship, and all the aspects that FSC covers. It’s really important for us to cover all of those aspects, because a large part of our sustainability also covers people’s health and wellbeing.”
Nature Coatings’ pigments are designed for industry. They are cost-competitive. They are easy to use with existing equipment and water-based formulas, and they do not require any upfront capital expenditure. Additionally, they stay far ahead of any global restricted substance lists, known as RSLs.
“The reality is we use wood in our lives for building homes, for furniture, for flooring, for paper, for all kinds of things. Because we’re all living with wood, there is going to be a waste stream from those products.”
Nature Coatings’ pigments do not fade in the sun and do not “bronze” or turn brown at high or low concentrations. The pigments are suitable for multiple applications including, but not limited to, screen printing, rotary printing, coatings, paint, resin casting, and wood.
“We shouldn’t have to jeopardize our health just because we like the color black.”