Among all the paint companies now offering “eco-friendly” options, only one company uses all-natural ingredients. Auro, based in Germany, has designed a line of natural paint that they say is so safe to use it can actually be composted. Made with ingredients like orange oil and rosemary, painting with these products can smell as good as a day at the spa. The line is now available in the United States through Golden Green, a distributor based in Oregon.

What’s wrong with typical paint?

While in use, most paints emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs)—the chemicals that make paint smell bad. Pollution from VOCs can cause headaches, nausea, breathing problems, and long-term exposure can even cause organ damage and cancer. When you’re done painting, ordinary paint is considered hazardous waste, and improperly disposed paint pollutes soil and water. Producing paint has serious environmental impacts as well, with petrochemical ingredients and energy-intensive manufacturing processes.

“There are chemicals even in no-VOC or low-VOC paints,” said Gabrielle Lacharite, CEO of Golden Green, the U.S. importer of Auro paints. “I’ve been contacted by customers who got huge headaches and nausea even when using low-VOC paints. I’ve heard many stories from people who got sick.”

Auro’s History—A New Alternative for the Paint Industry

Auro was founded about 30 years ago in Germany by Dr. Hermann Fischer, a chemist who worked in the paint industry. Fischer became convinced that the only way to avoid health and environmental hazards from paint would be to switch to all-natural ingredients. When a synthetic chemical in a product is found to be harmful, product developers typically replace it with new synthetic chemicals. The risk, according to Fischer, is that the product development process doesn’t leave time to test the safety of the new chemicals.

For example, according to Auro’s website, water-based gloss paints have been promoted because they can reduce VOCs. But the process to make the resins is energy intensive, and requires several other chemicals (neutralizing agents, auxiliary dilutants, and preservatives). The chemicals can be dangerous, and experts have also said that water-based paints can harm water sources unless they’re diluted by 40 million parts to one– the equivalent of rinsing a paintbrush under running water for a week.

What’s in Auro paints?

“Auro is one of the only companies I know that lists all of its ingredients,” said Ms. Lacharite. Common ingredients include plant-based oils like linseed or castor, and scented natural oils like eucalyptus and rosemary. Because all the ingredients are natural, the paint is even safe for composting once it’s dry.

Pigments are made from plants, minerals, and even scale insects. The pigments are separate, and designed to be mixed with a base paint either by the consumer or by the distributor. The company makes three lines of paints: a classic line, scented with orange oil; a pure solid line with no solvents and no odor; and a water-based line. The paints have been designed to perform as well as conventional paints, which the company believes it critical to its success. “Auro worked with top chemists to make sure that the paints are the highest quality,” said Ms. Lacharite.

What’s the most unusual Auro paint?

Auro produces a paint that not only adds no synthetic chemicals to the air, it actually helps make it cleaner. This particular formula is designed to remove formaldehyde from the air. “The paint reacts with light, so whenever you have light in the room, it will start breaking down formaldehyde in the air,” Ms. Lacharite explained. The alkaline nature of the product also helps inhibit viruses and bacteria.

What other products does Auro make?

Auro develops oils and water-based stains for wood furniture, which Ms. Lacharite reports are some of the best-selling products for the company in the U.S.

The company also manufactures adhesives, floor waxes and natural cleaning products, such as Ceramic Glass Cleaner and Wooden Floor Cleaning and Care, which is suited for cleaning and slightly re-waxing wood floors. The floor and furniture care products are also made with natural ingredients, like linseed oil.

Want to try it out?

Golden Green is offering up a $30 discount on Auro products to one lucky reader of Revmodo! All you have to do to enter is email [email protected] with how you would use the discount. Be sure to get those entries in before midnight EST Thursday, Aug. 23. Open to U.S. residents only. The winner will be chosen at random from all eligible entries and will be notified by email.