Tips for the Eco-Friendly Painter

Painting is an important way to protect our investments but it is not known for being the greenest of activities. Painting equipment like brushes, rollers and sprayers can use or absorb a tremendous amount of paint. You don’t have to head straight for the sink as soon as you’re done applying your paint.

Here are some tips that can help you do your part for the environment like a professional painter.

  • Scrape your brushes on the edge of your paint can several times to get the excess paint in the can to be used again.
  • Use the curved part of your painters multi-tool to scrape a lot of extra paint from your wet paint roller cover back into the paint can.
  • When priming your paint sprayer move your gun back to the paint pail as soon as you see paint coming out. There is no need to spray a lot of good paint into your waste bucket.
  • Use a three bucket system instead of the sink to clean brushes and rollers. The 1st bucket can be used to scrub the tools, the 2nd bucket for rinsing and a 3rd bucket to spin dry. The scrub bucket can sit for a couple of days to let the sediment settle out and the clear water can be poured off. If you are a regular painter you can save up the sediment and take a 5 gallon bucket to the hazardous wast site from time to time.
  • Wipe down other equipment like sprayers with rags or paint wipes and lay the rags out to dry in a well ventilated area. Once they dry they can be disposed of with your trash.
  • Let your empty paint cans dry with the lids off. When dry, these cans be thrown out with the rest of your trash.
  • Search out eco-friendly solvents if you are using spirits and thinners. Paint thinners can be stored and reused for future projects. They should never be poured down the drain. Always dispose of paint thinner or mineral spirits according to your local hazardous waste bylaws.
  • If you are using the same colour of paint in the near future then consider using a clam shell style plastic roller or brush cover. These will keep the paint wet and fresh for weeks and you won’t have to clean up at all.
  • Choose low or zero VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paint to make your painting projects eco-friendly.

We should all try to reduce the environmental impact of all our painting projects. We may not be able to reduce our impact to zero but we can significantly reduce the volume of toxins we release into the environment and our ground water system by just applying a few of these basic tips.