If you love the planet and want to be as environmentally friendly as possible, you are probably already committed to searching for the greenest paints from environmentally-conscious companies. However, there is more that you can do. Love the planet? Then, consider incorporating these green practises into your studio and life:
1. Let yourself breathe.
A green life isn't just about protecting the planet -- it's also about protecting your health and safety. To that end, make sure that your studio is well ventilated. You should be able to open doors and windows to allow air in and out, and when that isn't possible, you should have a ventilation system. If you've retrofitted a closet or storage room as your studio, extend the vents from your HVAC system to this area to allow air to circulate.
Unfortunately, even if you buy environmentally-friendly watercolors, they often still have chemical-based pigments or binders. If you don't have adequate ventilation to your studio, those chemicals will hang in the air, and you will inhale them, causing potential damage to yourself.
2. Make your own paints.
If you want paints that are completely natural, consider making your own. That way, you know exactly where every element is sourced, and you can control your supply line closely. Natural paints feature bases ranging from sand to flour paste, eggs, or acrylic.
Rather than being chemical based, the binders consist of natural materials such as limestone powder, wheat paste, honey or white soap. Finally, you use earth and mineral pigments, naturally occurring materials that have been used in painting for centuries, to add color.
3. Plan a disposal strategy.
Whether you use homemade paints or green, store-bought paints, you need to have a disposal strategy. Contact your local sanitation department to learn about the exact rules in your area. In some cases, you will be allowed to throw some paints out with your garbage, but certain paints are banned from going to the landfill.
Luckily, there are recycling programs to collect these paints. Alternatively, consider donating paint you don't want to local art programs or schools.
4. Do a background check of all your art supplies.
It's not just paint that can have an impact on the environment. Everything you buy engages with the environment in some way or another, and it's up to you to investigate all of the supplies you buy and decide if you're comfortable with their environmental footprints.
For example, if you are buying an easel, look into where the wood was sourced. Ideally, it should be from sustainable forest rather than from an old growth forest. If possible, the stain and sealant should be green as well.
Finally, regardless of which types of art supplies you are buying, think about the company as well. Are its practices green? Does it focus on safe, planet-friendly paints? Does it offer its employees a healthy, green place to work? Considering questions like this can help you find a supplier who feels like a partner in your efforts to be more environmental.
5. Think critically about your concept of green.
The concept of "environmentally friendly" isn't always cut and dry. For example, imagine a product used in a paint is biodegradable. In that regard, it is positive for the environment. However, it is only available on the other side of the planet. As a result, it takes a lot of fuel to get that ingredient into your paint. That has a harmful effect on the environment.
Ultimately, although the process can be confusing, it's up to you to think critically about your choices and decide what works the best with your planet-friendly philosophy.
Want to learn more about environmentally friendly paint supplies? Talk with a retailer that carries paint supplies today.