I paint a lot. I toss a lot of paper towels. Do any of you oil painters out there worry about tossing your turpy, toxic metal-sludged paper towels into the everyday trash? I was a C+ science student at best in school, but even I know my disposal practices can’t be good. How can I not be seeding landfills with cadmiums, cobalts, manganeses, and possibly even lead? I keep visualizing all that crap in the water table. Your welcome!
I came across a Minnesota Pollution Agency report from 2012. Basically it said that if humans use or consume it, it’ll end up in the water. One category of nasty stuff, called “endocrine-active compounds” mimics hormones and adversely effect fish, their ecosystems—and likely, humans. Other fun stuff found in recent studies? Cocaine, anti-depressants, and antibiotics. Good times!
I use heavy duty paper towels, and lately I’ve been experimenting to see how long I can make my paper towels last. Many painters swear by Viva, but I’m a Shop Towel guy. I’ve got one sheet now that has seen me through three paintings. But that’s not a solution.
So, I’m wondering if I should save up my gunky refuse and make a monthly trip to the official municipal toxic trash collection site. Do you know painters who do this? Luckily, Minneapolis, where I live, makes that easy. I suspect Scott Pruitt, now our nation’s top watchdog for (against?) the environment, would tell me, “Are you kidding? Just toss the crap.” Because, freedom. But my conscience, is, well, functioning.
Who’s with me? I’d appreciate a word from anyone out there who has any thoughts on this. We could start a movement. Hashtags and all that.