4 ways to be more ecological as an artist

Every small action counts

As humans, we must all do our part to protect the environment. Unfortunately, in the industrialized society in which we live in, there is a huge amount of waste released into nature and into the oceans. That makes me sad for our mother earth. I hope that all the world’s leaders will have the courage to put in place measures to reverse the current bad situation. In the meantime, it is possible to act as an individual and every small action counts. Recycling and using reusable bags are part of our daily lives today, but much remains to be done. Here are 4 ways to be more ecological as an artist.

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1- Reuse styrofoam trays

When you buy meats and some vegetables at the grocery store, they are unfortunately packaged in styrofoam trays covered with plastic wrap. Because these items that cannot be recycled, they end up in the trash and into the earth, which is very bad. Hopefully grocery stores and businesses will find other ways to offer other environmental friendly solution. So, to reuse the styrofoam trays, I use them as paint palettes.

This can be done by simply cleaning the trays twice in hot water with anti-bacterial dish soap. Since the sides are more porous, I rub them very well to remove residue. Once dry, they’re ready to become paint palettes! I use black or white trays, depending on the background color of my canvas.

It is also possible to make projects with these trays and make them to be a decorative or useful object. I did a simple project by painting a styrofoam tray. The first step was to apply a gesso as a base. Then paint the tray with acrylic paint. And then, varnish with a “mod podge” finish and let dry for a few days. These transformed trays make nice containers to put stuff inside like tubes of paint.

2- Recycle old, expired or empty art items

It is possible to recycle old, expired or empty art items by taking them to a designated place. For example, with the (re)Art program, Omer de Serres offers a place in their stores to drop off items that will be recycled. You can bring items such as ink pencils, markers, oil paint tubes, acrylic paint tubes, watercolor paint tubes, etc. To see the list of stores and items accepted, visit the page of the program (re)Art by clicking here. A simple action to be more ecological as an artist.

3- Use eco-responsible products for your art projects

More and more, eco-responsible art products are offered. Whether it’s at your favorite art store, at a surface store like Walmart or Staples, or at Amazon, you can find these products. For example, several recycled paper products are available for your projects. Printing papers, multimedia and watercolor papers are some examples of eco-responsible products. There are several other products such as pencils, markers, bamboo frames, etc. A simple search on Google and you will find many!

You can make your own eco-responsible art products. For example, by recycling single-sided printed paper and turning it into a notebook. It is possible to give a second life to our cardboards by painting or drawing on them. By preparing them with gesso, these cardboards become canvases to use.

4- Recycle printer cartridges

If you are printing your posters or any other kind of printing, then you are using printer cartridges. For them to be recycled, you simply have to return them to a place provided for this purpose. For example, office stores, like Staples, have a box to drop off your old cartridges. They will then be recycled.

Other little ecological tips in general

Here are a few other general tips that I wanted to share :

  • You can bring your old batteries to a designated place, for example, in pharmacies. They will be disposed of in a more environment friendly way than throwing them in the trash.
  • Pay attention to your water and electricity consumption.
  • Use fabric reusable bags to store your fruits and vegetables at the grocery store instead of plastic bags.
  • Recycle whatever you can.
  • Use a compost bin.
  • Buy ingredients in bulk with your own jars. For example, at Bulk & amp; Barn.
  • Reduce the consumption of plastic bags and use reusable bags.
  • Buy garbage bags made from recycled materials.
  • Use eco-responsible household products.
  • Encourage environmental organisms.

I’ve covered a few tips here to be more eco-friendly as an artist, but there are many more!

🌳 If you have any tips to share, put them in the comments for everyone to benefit. Every little gesture for the environment is important!

For tips, tutorials and demonstrations within my art journey,  click here to see my videos on Youtube.

To see my visual art creation in my shop, click on this link.

If you enjoyed this article, share it on your social media and feel free to leave me a comment below. I am looking forward to be reading your comments!

May your life be filled with colors, joy and loving kindness!

Chantal Rioux

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Video version