Yes, we artists create things that make the world a more interesting and beautiful place. Yet, do we give thought to how- in the process- we are contributing to the earth's environmental problems?
Practices to follow when cleaning brushes and rollers (water based)
Transfer as much paint as possible back to the paint cans by squeezing the brush, or squeezing the paint out of the roller with a commonly available tool for that purpose. Before using the sink to wash them, give them a good wash in a container (5 gallon bucket is good). Re-use this water for the first wash the next few times and eventually let the solids accumulate at the bottom. Dispose as solid waste. Tip: Don't wash your tools between coats. Use them for the first coat of the next colour and give them a slight wash before the final coat.
Practices to follow when cleaning brushes and rollers (solvent based) If you are using them for similar colours wrap them in plastic and freeze them until you need them again. If they are a very strong colour, don't wash them as they require a big amount of paint thinner or turpentine. Let them dry and dispose of them as solid waste. If you need to clean them, transfer as much paint as possible back to the paint can first. Wash them in a container with a tight lid. Let solids collect at the bottom of the container and re-use the cleaner solvents from the top. Keep the lid on. If you follow this simple "re-cycling" system, you hardly ever have to buy mineral spirits and even save money. Tip: Paint brushes and rollers wrapped in plastic can keep fresh for days, left outside during the cold Toronto winter.
Contact your municipality for their solid waste disposal policies, when you need to dispose empty paint cans, dried up tools, paint, etc.