Popularised over recent years by artists such as Banksy, street art can add character and colour to otherwise grey and uninspiring surroundings.
Graffiti, on the other hand, is generally unwelcome and can be detrimental to the image of any building on which it appears. In the retail, transport and sales industries, the presence of graffiti has been associated with a wide range of negative side effects, including decreased sales and passenger numbers, as well as a steep decline in property values in the area in which it appears. In schools and public places, the presence of graffiti can convey the message that crime is tolerated, which has a two-fold negative effect.
Quick and effective removal of graffiti acts as a deterrent, as the offender will not feel as though their time has been well spent and may move elsewhere to seek areas where graffiti is tolerated for longer.
Traditionally, removing graffiti has been a laborious and time-consuming task involving harsh chemicals and a lot of elbow grease. Alternatively, the offending material can be painted over – but this is not always practical and can be seen as a blank canvas for fresh graffiti. That’s where Rentokil Specialist Hygiene’s EcoBlasting service comes in.
EcoBlasting is one of the most effective ways to remove graffiti. It can be carried out quickly, professionally and is environmentally friendly. EcoBlasting uses compressed air to blast an environmentally benign abrasive, such as bicarbonate of soda or recycled glass, on to a surface to remove substrate layers, such as graffiti. It has three clear benefits over other methods of removing:
Alternative methods for graffiti removal frequently employ aggressive corrosive chemicals and excessive amounts of water, whereas EcoBlasting does not and is completely environmentally friendly. For example, EcoBlasting can be carried out in challenging cleaning environments such as by canals or rural areas, posing no contamination risk to any watercourses or wildlife that might be on or near the site.
The abrasive material to help remove the graffiti can be altered depending on the brief. For example, EcoBlasting using bicarbonate of soda can remove paint from glass and rubber without any damage being caused to the surface. If the graffiti is on concrete, using recycled glass can be very quick and efficient.
If the graffiti is near an electricity source then the process can be altered to be completely dry, to comply with health and safety regulations. Technicians can also alter the pressure while EcoBlasting to cater for specific tasks. Unlike other removal methods that use chemicals, EcoBlasting has a higher success rate of completely removing the graffiti so it looks as if it had never been there.
An Anti-Graffiti coating (AGC) can also be applied to a surface following EcoBlasting. This coating prevents the paint from being absorbed in to the surface, meaning it can be quickly and easily removed with detergent and water. This quick and simple clean up can serve as a deterrent as the offender will not be able to see their work in-situ for very long.
EcoBlasting can be used on glass, wood, metal, brick and most stone surfaces (including soft stone, such as limestone, which would be eroded by an acid cleaner).
A specialist technician will always offer a full assessment of the premises before any EcoBlasting takes place. This survey will ensure that the correct abrasive is used, taking into account the hardness rating and the environmental suitability for a given location.
According to the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003, the person responsible for the surface is accountable for the cost of getting graffiti removed, meaning that it falls to the owners or managers of the building in question to deal with the problem themselves. If graffiti is left untouched for too long, local authorities can issue a Graffiti Removal Notice, which gives the property owner or manager a timeframe to remove the graffiti or face the risk of prosecution.
If you are unsure of how to clean graffiti, it is best to consult a professional. As with any external contractor, they are trained to understand the latest legislative requirements in their area of expertise, and will be able to recommend the correct process to follow.