Earth Day is Saturday, April 22nd, and a good time to reflect on how we as artists can do our share to protect our planet…the place we find so much inspiration. Here are eight simple steps you can easily implement.

1. Use repurposed containers in your studio; laundry soap pod containers, small ice cream/gelato jars, baby food jars, and egg cartons are just a few examples.

egg carton art2. Donate recyclables to art classrooms. Items like paper towel or toilet paper tubes can be used in classrooms with younger children. And those egg cartons!

3. Encourage art projects made from “trash.” For example, magazines, bottle caps and old CD’s/DVD’s can become unusual mosaics and collages.

4. Use energy efficient lighting in your studio. LED’s (light emitting diodes) and CFL’s (compact fluorescent lamps) use much less energy and last longer than traditional bulbs. Better yet, make the most of natural daylight or work outside whenever possible.

5. Reuse shipping materials and use alternative packing supplies. Boxes, bubble wrap, shipping “peanuts” and paper can all be reused. When done with the bubble wrap, recycle it with your plastic bags. If needing peanuts, buy biodegradable ones made of cornstarch, and then just dissolve them in water when no longer needed. Pillow packs are a nifty way to pack with air.

safety seals6. Make sure that your supplies are non-toxic, especially if working in the classroom. Look for the AP (Approved Product) seal that identifies art materials certified safe and non-toxic to humans.

7. Properly dispose of all toxic waste, which includes solvents, paints, photo developing solutions, etc. A special hazardous waste container will come in handy to store these items safely. Your local waste removal company can provide instructions on disposal.

8. Stop using bottled water. Invest in a water filter system and use refillable water bottles. Collapsible water bottles can be a space saver when traveling or working outdoors.

To learn more, check out these links:

12 Practices for Artists to “Go Green” from

Art and Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI)

Buying Safer Art Supplies and Safer Art Supply Storage

Quick Tips for Safe Use of Art and Craft Materials

7 Alternatives to Styrofoam Peanuts