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Scale modeling and the environment

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  • Member since
    January 2021
  • From: Somewhere near Chicago
Scale modeling and the environment
Posted by Teenage Modeler on Friday, October 8, 2021 7:26 PM

I'd like to share something that I noticed and am worried about. Whenever we airbrush or use chemical solvents, we tend to want it to go away, by means of a spraying booth, or spraying outside. 

But, the bigger question is, what does it do afterwards? I mean, it is sent to the outside, where it spreads into the air and into the sky, but what effect does it do to the environment? If the thing you're spraying is very toxic that you need to have a mask, what would that level of harm do to the environment? Would it contribute to global warming, or climate change after your spray your model with Tamiya? This is worrying me a little, and am curious as to what happens.

No signature needed, just my head!

 

 

  • Member since
    February 2021
Posted by MJY65 on Friday, October 8, 2021 7:46 PM

I'm sure the solvents don't contribute anything positive to the environment. OTOH: The quantity of solvent being used by all the scale modelers combined probably doesn't even register on a global scale when compared to industry.  

  • Member since
    November 2008
  • From: Hatboro, PA
Posted by Justinryan215 on Friday, October 8, 2021 7:47 PM

Teenage Modeler

I'd like to share something that I noticed and am worried about. Whenever we airbrush or use chemical solvents, we tend to want it to go away, by means of a spraying booth, or spraying outside. 

But, the bigger question is, what does it do afterwards? I mean, it is sent to the outside, where it spreads into the air and into the sky, but what effect does it do to the environment? If the thing you're spraying is very toxic that you need to have a mask, what would that level of harm do to the environment? Would it contribute to global warming, or climate change after your spray your model with Tamiya? This is worrying me a little, and am curious as to what happens.

 

 

if using a spray booth, the solids will get caught in the filter to be thrown away with the trash.  The VOC's are exhausted into the atmosphere.  At the scale of us hobbyists, the volume is very negligible.  It is good to be consc about the situation, but unless you are spraying full size aircraft, or multiple 1:1 cars daily, there is really nothing to gain in worrying.  

Mother Nature finds a way to get back to 0 and humans will not stop that....

"...failure to do anything because someone else can do better makes us rather dull and lazy..."

Mortal as I am,I know that I am born for a day.  But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the Earth...

 

  • Member since
    May 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Friday, October 8, 2021 8:00 PM

Hello!

The good thing is only very, very few people build scale models. Thus we can do almost anything we want and it still would mean nothing when you compare it to, say, painting a bridge or construction equipment. Now the solvents we use are enamel - not very toxic and lacquer type - also not very toxic but in large amounts they create the so called photo-smog, you can look this up, basically together with ultra-violet it creates ozone where it shouldn't be. Then you also have water soluble paints - now the additives like flow enhancers are probably harmful to water creatures if you spill them in a river or do something comparable. Again, all the time people around you make worse things or at least they do it more often since modellers are so few.

Other environmental things to consider are the CO2 footprint - manufacturing models, shipping them then working on them in well lit, maybe air conditionend spaces - you could improve here by sleeping outside instead... At the same time many people harm the environment more for example by driving a car.

Then what we're particularily bad at - plastic modellers create a lot of microplastic. I'm talking about tiny plastic particles that get spread around, eaten by many creatures and getting into the ocean in the end harming marine animals. That's bad not only for the environment, but probably for us, too - I bet every one of us has a lot of plastic inside us... Then again - this is nothing compared to how much microplastic is created by wearing out clothes made out of plastic fibres - and everybody wears clothes and almost every article has at least some plastic fibre mixed in.

Maybe switching to wooden models would be the thing to do - just remember wood dust is scientifically proven to cause cancer (not a lot of risk but there is some).

Now the environmental crisis we're facing is forcing us to sit down and chill whenever possible, because every big move we make is harming the environment - driving a car, working, eating (the food has to be produced!). Now making models is pretty close to sitting down and chilling - so maybe this hobby isn't the worst thing we can do in our free time from the environmental point of view...

Thanks for reading and have a nice day

Paweł

All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    January 2021
  • From: Somewhere near Chicago
Posted by Teenage Modeler on Friday, October 8, 2021 8:21 PM

Pawel

Hello!

The good thing is only very, very few people build scale models. Thus we can do almost anything we want and it still would mean nothing when you compare it to, say, painting a bridge or construction equipment. Now the solvents we use are enamel - not very toxic and lacquer type - also not very toxic but in large amounts they create the so called photo-smog, you can look this up, basically together with ultra-violet it creates ozone where it shouldn't be. Then you also have water soluble paints - now the additives like flow enhancers are probably harmful to water creatures if you spill them in a river or do something comparable. Again, all the time people around you make worse things or at least they do it more often since modellers are so few.

Other environmental things to consider are the CO2 footprint - manufacturing models, shipping them then working on them in well lit, maybe air conditionend spaces - you could improve here by sleeping outside instead... At the same time many people harm the environment more for example by driving a car.

Then what we're particularily bad at - plastic modellers create a lot of microplastic. I'm talking about tiny plastic particles that get spread around, eaten by many creatures and getting into the ocean in the end harming marine animals. That's bad not only for the environment, but probably for us, too - I bet every one of us has a lot of plastic inside us... Then again - this is nothing compared to how much microplastic is created by wearing out clothes made out of plastic fibres - and everybody wears clothes and almost every article has at least some plastic fibre mixed in.

Maybe switching to wooden models would be the thing to do - just remember wood dust is scientifically proven to cause cancer (not a lot of risk but there is some).

Now the environmental crisis we're facing is forcing us to sit down and chill whenever possible, because every big move we make is harming the environment - driving a car, working, eating (the food has to be produced!). Now making models is pretty close to sitting down and chilling - so maybe this hobby isn't the worst thing we can do in our free time from the environmental point of view...

Thanks for reading and have a nice day

Paweł

 

 

Huh. That makes it less worrying for me then! Thanks for sharing!

No signature needed, just my head!

 

 

  • Member since
    September 2021
Posted by DooeyPyle67 on Friday, October 8, 2021 8:29 PM

Teenage Modeler

I'd like to share something that I noticed and am worried about. Whenever we airbrush or use chemical solvents, we tend to want it to go away, by means of a spraying booth, or spraying outside. 

I spray outside using a rattlecan during warm, sunny days often as I can. Spray particles are so tiny, it really does nothing to the environment.

 

But, the bigger question is, what does it do afterwards? I mean, it is sent to the outside, where it spreads into the air and into the sky, but what effect does it do to the environment?

Nothing

 

If the thing you're spraying is very toxic that you need to have a mask, what would that level of harm do to the environment?

None.

 

Would it contribute to global warming, or climate change after your spray your model with Tamiya? This is worrying me a little, and am curious as to what happens.

 

No. Honestly, we all have been building and painting model kits for 30, 40, 50 or 60 plus years. Climate change is mostly caused by weather, deforestation, and pollution from factories, not from a simple spray painting session.

Google "What Causes Climate Changes?" You'll find your answers there. Heck, you probably talked about this in your science classes in school.

 

  • Member since
    August 2021
Posted by goldhammer88 on Friday, October 8, 2021 8:53 PM

VOC limits were imposed on thinners and reducers years ago, and have driven the change to water based paints across the entire spectrum.  Have been in the auto body and paint field for 45 years, and you wouldn't believe the changes.

What we use for reducers and thinners is negligible, and won't make any significant change one way or the other.  Probably in the area of 1/1,000,000 of one percent.  That's every modeler in the world taken in total.

Look at all the era's this rock has gone through, from extreme CO2, to ice ages and back. This old rock will even itself out, and when one species goes extinct, another rises up to take it's place.  All of us will be longer gone to dust by then.  One thing you'll learn in time, you can't preserve anything.

  • Member since
    June 2021
Posted by rocketman2000 on Saturday, October 9, 2021 8:46 AM

Right now the gorilla in the room is carbon dioxide.  It is a very stable molecule and every ton introduced each day lasts for seven hundred to eight hundred years!

Large organic molecules like common solvents do degrade in the environment due to oxidation and UV.  I'll see if I can find out the half life.  But most of the solvents we use have natural sources, so I would assume our emissions are minimal compared to natural ones.

Remember when- I think it was during the Reagen era- when the presidential plane was flying over the southeast and a aid commented about Killer Trees (haze)?  Ever drive through cornfields in August?

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Saturday, October 9, 2021 9:29 AM

I'd be more concerned about the effect we're having on our own, personal living environments with the various materials used in modelling, but even that is negligible if you're practicing good housekeeping habits in your work area.  Its not going to have an impact on the overall environment in the scale that we're working in (no pun intended). Cool

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Saturday, October 9, 2021 12:05 PM

That last point is very important. Dogs and cats have tiny little lungs, and die of liver failure like we do.

Another thing, don't dump stuff down the drain. go to the trouble of getting rid of it properly. I store used thinner and paint stripper in a metal can or two, and make a trip to the landfill once a year on average where I show my proof of local residence and pay the disposal fee, like you would for household paints and empty spray cans.

It's a more direct connection- your sewer goes to your water processing facility, your bay or your ground water.

 

Lecture ended.

 

Bill

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

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