When you head to The Ohio State University (OSU) and are looking for 1 of 36,000 possible parking spots, you could be pulling in between two lines that have been painted with a soy-based paint. Through collaborative efforts of the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) and the soybean checkoff, OSU CampusParc and the Aexcel Corporation, some of those lines are getting a little “greener.”

BioStripe, manufactured by Aexcel, is the first waterborne traffic paint to be made with soybean oil, lowering the petroleum content and increasing sustainability. It has been named a United States Department of Agriculture Certified Bio-based Product as the use of soybean oil reduces Volatile Organic Compounds compared to petroleum based paints.

Aexcel specializes in the production of traffic paint and industrial coatings and according business development manager, Charlie Ackerman, they looked at BioStripe as a way to enter a different, environmentally conscious market.

“We’ve been looking for markets that are familiar with or understand the renewable resource type of paint. Often schools, parks, military and healthcare facilities will have a sustainability officer that is already looking at ways to be more green,” said Ackerman.

“It’s been fairly well received and holds up as well, if not better than, most other types of conventional traffic paints on the market. We’re currently targeting parking areas, but also going through the process to get BioStripe paint approved for roadway use.”

Being a soy-based product, OSC naturally thought BioStripe would be a great fit for the parking lots at the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at Ohio State. CampusParc, who leases and manages all parking facilities at Ohio State was excited to give it a chance. Last summer, two parking lots on the western side of campus were painted with BioStripe marking paint, including one at the Veterinary School. Signs have been placed in the lots letting people know it is a test area for soy-based paint, and made possible by OSC.

“We’re looking for ways to be green, and in the parking industry that can be hard, but we are always trying to do better for the environment and if we can promote crops that are grown in Ohio, it’s even better,” said Sarah Blouch, president of CampusParc.

Currently, latex paint is used but doesn’t hold up as well as the previous oil-based paints. Blouch is hopeful that the soy-based BioStripe paint will fare better or at least equal to the latex which will make it compelling to expand the use of soy-based paints next year. While a price comparison has not been completed, Blouch acknowledged they would likely consider paying slightly more for the soy-based product as long as it meets performance standards.

“We’re excited to see BioStripe marking paint added to the growing list of products made with soybeans. Parking lots and roadways are everywhere in this country; if widely adopted for use, the paint stands to help both the environment and the demand for Ohio soybeans,” said Gretchen Mossbarger, OSC board member and soybean farmer from Ross County.

To find out more about industrial uses for U.S. soy, visit www.soynewuses.org.