Building materials profile: ECOBond HD
As home renovators, we take impacts to the environmental and human health seriously. It’s no surprise then that our product selection undergo careful review and consideration. How many of our green pillar boxes does a product tick? Is it nontoxic? Does it produce minimal waste, have a low embodied energy, and ensure high performance? Is it effective and relatively affordable? In reviewing a product, we want to tick off as many boxes as possible.
A product may be nontoxic, but produces considerable packaging waste. Such is the case with ECOBond HD. This building adhesive is completely VOC-free. VOC stands for volatile organic compounds, which can compromise health. It was developed by a builder whose wife was getting sick from the standard adhesives he was using to build their home. His search for affordable and effective chemical-free adhesives and sealants came up empty.
The product he developed, based on an adhesive used in manufacturing and commercial construction, is effective when applied properly. It can be purchased in a variety of hardware stores in Canada. While ECOBond is twice as expensive as its standard VOC-emitting competitors, we’ve managed to purchase it at a reduced rate through ECO Building Resource, its Canadian distributor.
According to Kevin Royce at ECO Building Resource, ECOBond is becoming popular among homeowners who are demanding it of their contractors.
The one downside is the packaging. ECOBond is only available in small caulking tubes made of robust plastic. This produces considerable landfill-bound waste that takes hundreds of years to decompose, something we very much want to avoid.
We urge ECOBond to package its product in sausage format, which uses a thin casing rather than a rigid tube, resulting in a 95 percent reduction in packaging waste. Sausage packaging has the added benefit of carrying more material than caulking tubes, reducing reloading and cost. The gun used to dispense the product is superior too. Easier to use than a caulking gun, we find that it reduces wrist fatigue, offers better dispensing control, and more coverage.
In an effort to reduce waste, we are testing ECOBond’s competitor, ECO-Tite 5500, which comes in sausage 10oz tubes. It’s not entirely VOC-free, but low enough to be considered a low-VOC product for our projects.
Bottom Line: Sausage packaging offers up more product and less waste, reducing costs and non-renewable plastic sent to the landfill.