Natural Alternatives to Resin

Written by anise hunter
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Natural Alternatives to Resin
Resins are used in the marine industry and in crafts. (Big Boat, Little Boat image by Aubrey Thompson from

Polyester resin can be quite difficult and toxic to work with. These resins are used in artistic casting, marine use and in composite materials. They are made out of styrene-based products and can be flammable. When you are working with polyester resins, it is best to wear a respirator, since they throw off toxic fumes. Luckily, though, there are a number of natural and less toxic alternatives to resin.

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The Rise of Bio-Composites

As the price of oil rises, oil-based composite products are becoming more expensive to produce. Composite producers are looking to plant materials to fill the void. Soybeans and corn are two crops that produce oil, and these plants are being investigated as potential natural alternatives to current resin products.

Natural Alternatives to Resin
Corn and soy could yield oil for resins (Corn image by DSL from

Plant-Based Resins

In the US, a company called Sustainable Composites has been researching plant-based resins. This UK company was founded in 2003. It creates composite products from natural alternatives to resin like hemp and castor oil. The company has developed a surfboard made out of these materials as part of the Eden Project. They currently sell a resin alternative called Eco-Comp UV-L Resin.

Natural Alternatives to Resin
There are now alternative marine composites (surfboard wax 1 image by Scott McCarty from

Adding Natural Materials to the Resin Mix

Plant-based resins are still challenging to come by. For the artist, there are a few alternatives. Plaster of Paris is a natural casting alternative, although it does not behave like a resin. Forton MG combines resin with other materials to create a product that contains fewer fumes than pure resin. This product is made out of plaster and metal powders such as bronze, copper and aluminium. It is used for casting. This product is made by Dyflex, a company from the Netherlands.

Natural Alternatives to Resin
Products with metals and less resin emit fewer fumes. (bronze image by harmonie57 from

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