Eco-Friendly Art: Cutting Out Microplastics for a Healthier Future

Eco-Friendly Art: Cutting Out Microplastics for a Healthier Future

In the wake of alarming new research, it has become crucial to reassess our relationship with plastics, particularly within the art industry. A recent study by University of New Mexico revealed a staggering finding: 100% of animal species tested had microplastics in their testes, which bioaccumulates. This discovery is ringing alarm bells among researchers, who believe that these microplastics may be contributing to the decline in male human fertility. As an artist and a conscientious individual, this revelation has deeply affected me, pushing me to eliminate even more plastics from my world and feel grateful that I had already reduced plastics in my art practice.

Microplastics, tiny particles less than 5 millimeters in size, have infiltrated every corner of our environment. They are found in our oceans, our food, and now, disturbingly, within the reproductive organs of animals. The art industry, often overlooked in discussions about plastic pollution, is a significant contributor. Many art supplies contain plastic, from synthetic brushes to acrylic paints, and numerous materials come wrapped in plastic packaging. In fact, researchers have also identified acrylic paint as the number one source of microplastics in our oceans (from art, painted buildings and bridges, and other applications). 

Here are three actionable ways to reduce plastic in your art purchases:

  1. Opt for Art Made with Natural Brushes: Instead of synthetic brushes, which are made from plastic fibers, choose art made with brushes made from natural materials. Look for those made from plant-based alternatives. Brands are increasingly offering cruelty-free, plant-based brush options that perform just as well as their synthetic counterparts.

  2. Choose Art Made with Plastic-Free Paints: Acrylic paints, which are prevalent in the art world, are essentially liquid plastic. If you're looking to fill your home with beautiful art, consider purchasing a watercolor or  gouache artwork, which typically has much fewer plastic components. Additionally, seek out eco-friendly paint brands that prioritize natural ingredients and sustainable practices.

  3. Mind the Packaging: Many art products come wrapped in unnecessary plastic. Support artists and brands that use minimal or biodegradable packaging. If you're an artist, buying in bulk can also reduce the amount of plastic waste, as larger quantities often mean less packaging per unit of product.

By making these mindful choices, art lovers can significantly reduce their plastic footprint, contributing to a healthier environment and potentially mitigating the impact of microplastics on human and animal health. Let’s create art that not only inspires but also reflects our love for the planet and commitment to a sustainable future.

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