Reducing the Environmental Impact of your Art Supplies

Every industry, big or small, has a carbon footprint. And while most of us are familiar with the impact of high emitters like fossil fuel production or agriculture, we may not always consider the impact of our own artistic pursuits.  

Thankfully, there are some steps we can take to minimize the environmental impact of our art supplies.

Make informed choices

There are so many brands out there working to create green alternatives for the environmentally conscious artist.

So, when you embark on your search for needed materials, keep an eye out for terms like non-toxic, natural, or biodegradable. You can also look for products that are ACMI-certified, an official seal that confirms the product has undergone extensive toxicological testing.

To get you started, here are a few of our favourites:

Buy what you use & use what you have

reusing art supplies

It’s important to monitor your consumption. By ensuring that you only buy what you’ll use, you eliminate the possibility of excess waste.

At the same time, there are innovative ways to extend the life of the products you already have. This article covers some great approaches to preserving your products, complete with helpful techniques for paint and solvents.

When the time comes, dispose with care

Much of your art supplies can actually be recycled, meaning it doesn’t wind up in the landfill releasing harmful vapours into the air. Plus, when you reuse and recycle, fewer resources are used to produce new art products.   

For paint in particular, Canadians are already embracing this practice, with more than 82 million litres of paint recycled through Product Care’s Paint Recycling Program since 1994. Through Product Care’s initiative, painters simply drop off their unwanted paint (free of charge) at a recycling location, where it is collected, transported, sorted and recycled.

Wondering what they accept? Latex, oil-based, aerosols and empty paint cans can all be recycled through their program – you can find a recycling location near you right here.