Photo: Sara Mc Key


Choose the right materials to let your creativity blossom. By thinking twice you can decrease the way your painting materials affect the environment.

  • Ask questions in the art supply store about how the materials affect the environment.
  • Avoid poisonous pigments - cadmium above all.
  • Avoid paints with toxic solvents.
  • Reduce, reuse and recycle materials when you create.

Choose non-toxic paints

Artist paints in yellow, orange and red can contain pigments of Cadmium, which is a very poisonous heavy metal. This applies to all kinds of artist paints.

  • If you want to use a Cadmium-like pigment there are substitutes. Look for the words “hue”, “sub”, and “imit” after the name of the Cadmium pigment.
  • Avoid paints with toxic solvents (repeated from section above)
  • Choose water soluble oil paints. This way you avoid toxic solvents, and you can clean your paint brushes with water.

Be thorough when cleaning your paint brushes

All paints, as well as solvents, belong to the category of toxic waste. Even water based paints can contain toxic chemicals, such as Nonylphenol which is a hormone-like substance that is very poisonous for water organisms. Therefore it is of high importance that you don´t pour paints and solvents into the drain.

  • Dry all paint residue from your hands with paper or rags before washing them.
  • Dry as much paint as you can from the paint brushes, with paper or rags. Rinse the brushes in a jar with water or solvents, depending on what paint you have used. Dry the brushes a second time on paper or rags before you clean them with ecofriendly brush soap and running water.
  • Leave the paint residue in the jar, regardless if it´s water or solvents, and turn it in to a Toxic waste recycling facility.
  • Throw the papers and/or rags in the household waste, which will be transformed into energy when burnt at the district heating plant. Any residue of cadmium must be handed in to a Toxic waste recycling facility.