First it was farming and winemaking, then it was clothing, now yellow lining is going organic.
EUROMARK GB has begun manufacturing a new yellow thermoplastic formulation that uses organic pigments. Called Eurolite Organic Yellow Screed, the innovative material is about to be laid on roads for the first time in Sandwell, in the West Midlands.
Existing yellow thermoplastics rely on lead chromate to achieve the limits set in current standards for chromacity and luminosity. As a result they are classed as ‘high hazard' in assessments under the COSHH (Control of Substances Harmful to Health) Regulations.
Eurolite Organic Yellow is virtually free of trace heavy metals and ‘low hazard', making it more friendly to operatives and the environment.
EUROMARK spent several years developing the product with the Ringway Technical Centre in Warrington and suppliers of organic pigments.
"We eventually selected an organic pigment that we were able to modify so the colour and luminance of our finished product fell within the range set out in the British standards," says Neville Smith, EUROMARK Chemist and Technical Manager.
Eurolite Organic Yellow underwent a year-long trial - and around a million wheel-over passes - at Junction 37 of the M4 in Wales. It passed this and subsequent laboratory testing by the British Research Establishment, resulting in accreditation to two related standards (BS EN 1824 Road Marking Materials: Road Trials, and BS EN 1436 Road Marking Materials: Performance for Road Users).
Further independent tests confirmed the material conformed to a third standard (BS EN 1871), clearing the way for EUROMARK to produce Eurolite Organic Yellow under its Kitemark licence.
Production is now underway at the Ringway roadmarking division's plant in Normanton, West Yorkshire. The new material is heated and applied in the same way as conventional thermoplastics, and indistinguishable to the road user, or expert eye, apart from the absence of a skull and crossbones on the packing.
Following Sandwell Borough Council's Forge Lane Road trials, in March/April 2010, EUROMARK expects that more local highway authorities will soon be laying their first ‘greener' yellow lines.