Art Supply Insiders Podcast

ASI 58 Schmincke Part 2, Sustainability: A commitment to People, the Environment & their Products

April 02, 2023 Jeff Morrow
ASI 58 Schmincke Part 2, Sustainability: A commitment to People, the Environment & their Products
Art Supply Insiders Podcast
More Info
Art Supply Insiders Podcast
ASI 58 Schmincke Part 2, Sustainability: A commitment to People, the Environment & their Products
Apr 02, 2023
Jeff Morrow

Sustainability matters in everything Schmincke does! Their commitment to sustainability is unmatched in the art & craft industry. 
Some unique & Sustainable products:

  • Vegan oil paints 
  • Liquid Charcoal
  • Random Grey - Made from the mixed pigments left over that most others just throw away. Random Grey reduces waste and increases shadow serendipity.

Company Sustainability

  • Solar panels since 2010
  • Bike leasing for employees to ride to work
  • 70% of the company’s total energy reducing CO2 emissions by around 147 tonnes/ year.
  • Their laboratory makes every effort to develop formulas without using hazardous materials.
  • High-quality boxes comes entirely from sustainable forestry.
  • Reduced  water consumption by installing sewage pretreatment equipment back in the 1980s.

If you are serious about Sustainability, click here to check out everything Schmincke has to offer.

Art Supply Insiders
Click here to subscribe & follow (and be notified of every new podcast): Subscribe & Follow
Please leave a comment (we love feedback!): Comments


Support the Show.

Art Supply Insiders Podcast +
Become a supporter of the show and help us continue making great content!
Starting at $3/month
Support
Show Notes Transcript

Sustainability matters in everything Schmincke does! Their commitment to sustainability is unmatched in the art & craft industry. 
Some unique & Sustainable products:

  • Vegan oil paints 
  • Liquid Charcoal
  • Random Grey - Made from the mixed pigments left over that most others just throw away. Random Grey reduces waste and increases shadow serendipity.

Company Sustainability

  • Solar panels since 2010
  • Bike leasing for employees to ride to work
  • 70% of the company’s total energy reducing CO2 emissions by around 147 tonnes/ year.
  • Their laboratory makes every effort to develop formulas without using hazardous materials.
  • High-quality boxes comes entirely from sustainable forestry.
  • Reduced  water consumption by installing sewage pretreatment equipment back in the 1980s.

If you are serious about Sustainability, click here to check out everything Schmincke has to offer.

Art Supply Insiders
Click here to subscribe & follow (and be notified of every new podcast): Subscribe & Follow
Please leave a comment (we love feedback!): Comments


Support the Show.

 Jeff: 0:07

Welcome back to Art Supplying Insiders. My name is Jeff Morrow, and we get to talk with a, an old friend of ours, Schmincke, who we talked to a couple of times before, and you'll see on the, when, when you go to look at them, it's called Schmincke Part 1, and today we're gonna talk a little bit more in depth with them about their commitment. sustainability because in the art industry, sustainability is a big, big thing. So we've got Marcel Koons back, and Marcel, if you don't recall, is the international key account manager for Sch Minka. And Marcel, welcome back.

Marcel: 0:47

Thank you very much Jeff. And uh, I'm really excited to be back, uh, on the show. And Jeff. For the honor to talk a little more in depth about, uh, yeah, about sustainability and how we implement it here.

Jeff: 1:02

Well, tell me a little bit why, why does sustainability matter so much at mka?

Marcel: 1:08

Well, um, let's, let's, let's start by by thinking, um, how we, where we started actually. So, in, in 1881, um, sustainability wasn't, wasn't too present in, in the site, but, uh, since, since a couple of years, or a couple of decades ago, um, Sustainability matters more than ever before. And, um, we are producing, or we have just a single factory here in Germany, so one, one location. Um, so we, um, produce a hundred percent, um, here in Germany, so a hundred percent mate in Germany as well. And we. Um, since, since the beginning we were striving not only for economic success, which is obvious, but, but as well, environmentally and social aspects matter. And, uh, so last time I mentioned the Latin saying, we, uh, our founders, um, gave us which is, um, in, in English translated it's, uh, I strive for the best implemented into what we, uh, do on a daily business. We are striving to optimize, um, whatever we can. And, um, this as well on, on sustainability.

Jeff: 2:34

So what specifically is it that you are doing as it relates to sustainability? Is it the, the way you do your manufacturing? Is it the, the, the way you use the products, the materials? Can you give us a little bit more in the. In the

Marcel: 2:52

specifics. I, I think the most, uh, or the best example is, um, that we have, um, solar panels, um, on, on our roof. Oh. Um, so the entire premise is covered by solar panels and we established them in 2010. So, um, 13 years ago. which is quite a long time. Thinking back, um, that solar panels in, let's say in the last five years were, uh, evolving. So we've been here in the area one of the very first, um, having solar panels and establishing that and, um, Fun fact on the site. Uh, this is actually how I started with Minka during high school. Um, uh, in as a, as a holiday job, cleaning the solar panels on the roof.

Jeff: 3:40

Uh, oh my goodness. How fun is that?

Marcel: 3:44

So I, I started at a sustainability, uh, aspect of Schmincke, um, back, back in the days now, and by these solar panels now clean and fresh, um, we can. Um, or 70% of the total, uh, company's energy we can cover by, by, um, the solar panels and saying that, um, we can reduce on, on average, uh, 174 tons of CO2 emissions by that. Wow. And, um, so we are, um, we are striving for CO2 neutrality. uh, we are on a good track. So 93, 90 4% is already, um, is already, uh, neutral. And I think, uh, that the last six, 7% in the, in the upcoming years is, um, definitely feasible and, um, uh, this is, uh, one part. So solar panel, solar energy. Mm-hmm. Um, we have charging stations for, for our, uh, for cars. Um, so for the hybrid or fully electric cars, our, our staff and employees can charge if they have a car, um, or electrical, uh, charged for free during the time they're. and, um, uh, if we are even more sustainable, uh, we ride our bike to, to the, uh, to the office. Wow. And so we, since last year, we have a bike leasing program for our employees so that they could, um, ride the bike, um, to, to the office each and every.

Jeff: 5:31

You have a a, a bike leasing program. So yes, sir. The, their employees can lease bicycles from you so that they can go to and from their home and to work

Marcel: 5:42

exactly and even to a, uh, a bike tour, um, on the weekend with a family.

Jeff: 5:49

Really? Yeah. Wow. I've never heard of anything like that. That's very, very cool. Now, I, I know that you guys also do everything you can to keep chemicals out of your products. I know we can't do that in the industry a hundred percent, but talk a little bit

Marcel: 6:10

about that. Yeah. So we are trying to keep, um, the chemicals out of the products, but as well out of the, out of the system or the, the environment in a way. Um, um, we, this leads to, to waste water. So the water for, for our production, we need a lot of water for cleaning. um, yeah. Um, tanks, et cetera, and, and batches. Um, and we need a lot of, um, fresh water and we need a lot of hot water because cleaning with hot water is much easier. So hot water heated up at the roof. Um, and, um, the water eventually, um, goes into wastewater treatment and, uh, for. These are four tanks, which are, um, newly renovated. So four cleaning processes, four stages of cleaning, um, the water we use, and thereafter it goes to the, to the public, um, uh, wastewater treatment. And, um, so it's already clean by then. So all the particles, um, in our pigments, et cetera. Uh, we, we take out of the water and then give, uh, give it back to, um, to the public, um, water system. And, um, so that's the in-house process. But as well, um, this leads, um, to, to the products as well. We are striving more and more to, um, yeah, to natural products, um, to vegan products and, um, wow. Uh, all in all, uh, to, to sustainable aspects here. Um, this goes, um, or to, to give some some examples. We have, um, released a random gray. This has been, um, the first, um, sustainable product we did. Um, and random gray, uh, is. we take, um, the, the pastel procedurals. So during our Pastel production, um, which are our pastels are let's say a hundred percent, um, or almost a hundred percent pigment, just a minimum amount of binder to, to hal the structure. So, um, we take the, the particles falling off during the production, during the handmade process, we collect. and at the end of the year, um, we take all the pigments together. Um, 400, uh, different, uh, pastels we produce. And, um, so if you take a, uh, a yellow, uh, blues, greens, uh, et cetera altogether, um, you mix it, you get it gray. Yes, you do. In some year you have more, we produce more blues in some other year it's maybe green. Um, so it's always a random gray. And we, we started doing that, um, with an oil. So, um, taking that pigment, grind it down, and mix it with, um, with our oils and released a random gray, a limited edition, uh, fully, really sustainable. And, um, yeah, so saying that, um, we, we started with an oil paint, um, or, or random gray oil pin. And oils, um, is as well. Some, some, um, raw material, which is renewable. Linseed oil. Sulo oil, yeah. Um, poppy oil, all of that is renewable. So in that area we are as well looking for, um, yeah, sustainability. So

Jeff: 10:08

tell me a little bit about this random gray. What do people use that for? Do they use it for sketching? Do I'm not exactly sure what random gray, why somebody would use it.

Marcel: 10:22

Well, um, the application of a gray is very versatile. Yeah. And, um, so artists, uh, can use it, as you say, for, for sketching. You, you can use the gray as, as an undertone, but as well for, for a certain highlights, it's, it's that special color, um, which you. I, I pose, I'm not an artist myself, but if I would use that random gray, I would use it for, for certain highlights. I mean, uh, look at, look at Urban Sceneries. Um, you could, uh, use it for, for Dusty. Um, for a dusty, uh, sky. Um, the first random gray was, was, uh, a slight, um, slighter coolish, um, bluish gray. Okay. So, um, that's, that's perfect for, for Sky. I, I would say, but as, as always, there are no limits or no right application for, for a certain color, but, um, we, um, afterwards we, we did an acrylic, um, so using our acrylic binder. And, um, this year it's not released yet, but it will be a pastel edition So we, we are using, uh, the pastel residuals for, uh, a new pastel stick. And, um, wow, this is in, uh, in very, very exciting, um, fields and we, we got phenomenal feedback. About the idea in, in general, but, but as well, uh, the color gives, gives you certain, certain highlights in, in your painting.

Jeff: 12:02

And so you do this once a year. Is that kind of what it is that you do?

Marcel: 12:08

Yeah, so we, we do that once a year. Um, so the first, um, addition was addition, um, 2 21 Uhhuh Uh, last year we did 2 22. And, uh, this year is 2 23. So, um, wow. Addition 2 23 then, um, collects all the p um, all the residuals from the past. And so over the year, during the pastel production, we collect all that, um, in, in our lab, and they grind it down at the end of, uh, of the year to, uh, to agree. And as, as I said, 400 different pastels we, we produce. Uh, there's always a unique mixture at the end of the day or at the end of the year. Um,

Jeff: 12:57

Well, I, I've never heard of this process, and now I've been involved with sustainability with a number of companies. But literally, you guys are taking the residuals and stuff that most people just throw away and back into the environment, and you are finding a way to reuse it and literally make a brand new product out of.

Marcel: 13:22

You are absolutely right. And um, in, in the last year we did, um, somehow similar, um, we did a liquid charcoal. So if you think of charcoal,

Jeff: 13:37

um, liquid charcoal. I'm sorry, I jumped in. You just said liquid

Marcel: 13:41

charcoal. Exactly. So this is, um, So you, your, your question mark in your eyes, um, is what we've heard many, um, many times before. Um, sorry, Marcel, is it liquid charcoal and, um, because, you know, charcoal, um, so burn wood. Yeah. And, uh, as, as a solid stick. And, um, this is, so we are striving to do, um, a hundred percent self-developed products. And, um, so only the metal tins, um, aren't, uh, what we, uh, we we're not producing our metal tins on our own, but we do have a, um, a long-term partner here in Germany doing that. And at one production meeting we talked about, um, the one, um, sini chest. So our sini resin alpine. We have a very, uh, precious, um, wooden. Um, chest and there's a solid, um, charcoal stick inside mm-hmm. And we, we were discussing that here and thought, well, um, how can we reinvent that or what's there, there must we, we are producing so many tubes, uh, a year, so there, there must be any way to, to have that in, in a tube because. Um, in the, if you apply a charcoal, it's very, you very dirty. Oh, yeah. But, but for oil painters, especially an essential, uh, essential material. So we thought, um, reinventing that, um, not only by using wood, um, we are completely natural in this field as we are using. Fruit seeds as the basis for our liquid charcoal. Hmm. In other terms, we use grape seeds, um, cherry pits and peach stones, each one separately, um, and burn them. Um, so charcoal them, grind them down to be used as a pigment and mix it with gaab, which is our natural binder for, for the water. Right. And so by that we are not only having three different kinds of charcoal, so the grape is slightly bluish, a little cooler, um, sherry, uh, brown, brownish, warmer color and peach. Interestingly, it's, it's not warm, it's rather neutral black, really. And, um, so by that we, um, yeah, we are able to have. A charcoal, not made of wood, but out of very sustainable, I mean, those seeds and, and stones you would throw away. Well, yeah. Um, so we are a healthy company. We have to eat a lot of fruits, uh, to make that product uh, po possible. And to produce it. Uh, no, but we, um, we weren't really sure at, at the very beginning whether this, um, A product, um, which is well received, but by, by now we have it in our standard offering, um, in, in a 35 mill tube. And, uh, it's, it's going, um, super strong and, um, I mean a, a solid stick of, of charcoal you use for, for underpainting, right? But liquid charcoal. you could use for, for as, as a Gouche paint, for example. You could even purely use the three colors or even one color to do your painting.

Jeff: 17:36

Wow. I, I, I, I mean, you've just kind of blown my mind with liquid charcoal, cuz I've, I've oil painted in the past and I've, you know, used the vines where you sketch it out and then you, you've put a fixative over it and, and, and it's, it's messy. But this, so this comes in a tube. Yeah. And then you squeeze it out and, uh, do you mix it with water or anything? Or do you just take it straight from the

Marcel: 18:02

tube? Uh, you, you take it straight, uh, straight from the tube. You, you apply it like, like a go gush paint or like a, like a watercolor. So it's water deletable as it's a gum abic binder. And, um, so it's very easy to. And it's not dirty at all because you, you, you can control it perfectly with, with your brush. And, um, yeah, so it's a great alternative, uh, to the solid charcoal. You could even use it, the solid charcoal together. But, um, why

Jeff: 18:38

It's just like, why? Let's just use this.

Marcel: 18:42

Exactly. And, uh, gives, gives you, um, a little more variety in in that field.

Jeff: 18:49

My goodness. You just kind of took my, uh, my thought process away from me, cuz I'd never heard of anything like that. Is, is there anything else in your line where sustainability really touches the product as much as it does with.

Marcel: 19:06

Um, yes. So, uh, we have released, um, this year an a fully vegan oil paint line. So by

Jeff: 19:18

saying that, oh, vegan oil. Oil, uh, v let me, let me try that again. Vegan oil paint line. Exactly. What does that mean?

Marcel: 19:27

Jeff, you can't eat it.

Jeff: 19:31

that's, well, I'm not vegan, so I probably wouldn't but check it. Tea No, that's,

Marcel: 19:37

um, so with Norma Blue, that's the name of, of the, the paint. Um, we have released, uh, 48, um, solvent free colors. Um, Um, don't use any, um, any cobalt nor cadmiunm or zinc side pigments, um, fully, uh, fully order less or reduced, um, reduced smell so that you can easily paint in, in, uh, smaller apartments or rooms. And, um, by, by doing that, it's, it's fully, uh, fully vegan. So those, um, and the vegan trend, um, now met us, met us more than ever before. Absolutely. So we, um, we were, uh, investigating that, uh, in, in that field, um, because even here, uh, in our staff, they, many, many, um, striving for, for the vegan, um, In, in their everyday life. It's not only vegan what you, what you eat, but it's, it's more than that. So we wanna big time want to, wanted to take, take part in that. And, um, so Norma Blue is the little brother of our Norma Professional line. Okay. Norma Professional is our premium oil paint, which, um, I've already touched base a little in, in the past interview. Um, so it's a premium line, um, 84 colors, um, very, uh, rich in pigment and, uh, highest possible, uh, amount of, of pigment. And so we took the exact same pigmentation, um, and did a water mixable, uh, version out. So you

Jeff: 21:28

can clean this with water.

Marcel: 21:32

Exactly. So it's, you can clean your equipment easily with, uh, with water. Um, Well, you, you could combine a water mixable or a Norma Blue with, uh, a norma professional or any preferred oil paint. Oh. But then it's, it's, it's, um, yeah, it's not vegan at that point, the water mixability. Um, but, but if you have certain highlight colors, which you would like to use as, as a traditional oil pine, you might use them. But at the end of the day, it. Uh, for those always wanting, um, or always dreaming for, for an opine, but having certain, certain allergies for tartines or, or other solvents. Um, they were, the barrier was, was quite high. And, um, with Norma Blue, um, a fully, um, yeah, solvent free, um, paint, we've reduced that barrier. Um, maybe as well, acrylic painters. Um, always like the, the batters of, of the oil pine, the gloss, um, and with, with Norma Blue at a really high, um, pigmentation, you are able to do that.

Jeff: 22:51

my goodness. You guys have taken this, uh, a very long way. Uh, something I meant to ask you early on in our interview is I know that, you know, paper usage is huge out there, and I I read on your website that you only use, uh, Pope and, and Paper from sustainable forests. Is that.

Marcel: 23:16

That's, that's correct. So, um, I mean, and reducing paper is, um, somehow easy. So we are striving, um, to, to have all our internal processes, um, um, digitally. So, um, yeah. I mean, in the past we, we printed everything and, and yes, uh, I had to deliver it from one place to another Um, so we, we are trying to reduce that tremendously. And this is an easy habit here. You could, um, implement in your, in your day-to-day life, but somehow paper or car, um, we, we can't really reduce. But, but, um, for, for outer, outer packaging, Of, of our, of our tubes, but as well sets, um, or the, the boxes to ship. Um, right. So we, we can't eliminate that fully, but in, in that case, we are trying to, um, use renewable, um, resources and, and, um, yeah, implement that the, the best way.

Jeff: 24:24

Well, I, I, wow. Is all I can say is is, is it, it seems to me that Schmincke is probably leading the industry. In sustainability, in their products, in, in, in the products that they use and the products that they, they offer to the end user. Is there anything that we've forgotten to talk about as it relates to sustainability and ska?

Marcel: 24:54

No, I think, uh, this, this covers, um, mainly, um, or this covers mainly everything. It's personally, I, I really feel that the sustainability and all the natural, uh, vegan is a very interesting field. Yeah. So you can expect much more, um, in, in that area from Schmincke. As this is, um, next to striving for, for the best pigmentation, we really have an. We really are, um, striving for, um, CO2 neutrality and just by saying that we are, um, really believe in sustainability and, and giving back, um, the, the best, the best possible.

Jeff: 25:39

Well, um, Marcel, uh, please thank everyone at Schmincke for not only what you do for our industry, but what you guys are doing for our planet. We really appreciate it..

Marcel: 25:53

We just have that one planet and, uh, let's preserve that the best way possible. And, um, yeah, it's just, it's just paint. We, we do, but, but, um, it's, it's a very small part, but um, it's something and, uh, we truly believe in that.

Jeff: 26:11

Well, it's more than just a small part in our industry. Uh, you guys are, are leading the way and hopefully, Every other manufacturer in our art and craft industry, uh, pick up and do the same thing as you. Again, Marcel, thank you very, very much for being on, and as you continue to innovate and come out with new and unique products, we'd love to have

Marcel: 26:37

you back. Thank you very much Jeff, and thank you everybody for, for listening and taking the time to, to listen to some sustainability aspects here, here at. it's

Jeff: 26:49

great. You've been listening to the Our Supply Insiders.Check back with us often as we talk about the world of art and craft supplies. If you'd like to hear more of these podcasts, please hit the subscribe button on your preferred podcast platform, and we'd appreciate it if you'd tell a friend about us, if you'd like to show your support and help us continue these wonderful podcasts. Please consider going to our website and hitting the support button@artsupplyinsiders.com. Now go up and create something.