Since I try to be as ecologically minded as I can be, I realised I really should pass on one common sense tip on how to use acrylic paints with as little damage to the environment as possible.
Here's a really simple practice I've adopted. When you paint with acrylics, you keep your paint brushes in water between use of different colors (to prevent paint drying on the brush and thereby ruining it).
I used to put my brushes, fully loaded with any paint I hadn't been able to remove in the painting process, directly into my water container and swish them around before using them again for another color. Then at the end of the day when I cleaned my brushes I would allow this paint sludged water to go down the sink drain, eventually making its way to the sewage treatment plant.
But then I realized that treatment plants are meant to handle human waste, not paint. And our sewage treatment plant here in Ithaca is located so that its overflow goes directly into Cayuga Lake.
So now I clean off my brushes on a rag before putting them in their water container. I put them in water and further wipe them off on a rag several more times until no more color can be removed.
This way the water that goes down the sink at the end of the day when I wash my brushes has very little paint. The waste paint dries on the rag as it would dry on a painting, thus becoming more stable. When the rag no longer has space to absorb paint I throw it away, it goes to the landfill, and the waste products from my painting process are less likely to pollute the environment.
And if you don't care about polluting the environment, another reason to do this is to prevent clogging your plumbing drains!
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Cleaning my brush of red paint - dry paint on a rag is better than wet paint down the sink!
By the way, I have ceased using cadmium red (and other cadmium based products) since cadmium is a heavy metal.