My name is Martine Marie-Anne Chartrand and I am a visual artist and proud to be a stay at home mom. I grew up in rural Aylmer, Gatineau on a vegetable farm.

I believe this is why I have respect for nature and care for the environment.

As the land provided me with food and inspiration for my art work with its beauty and wonder, I have always tried my best to protect the environment.

camping en famille

While in my budding years in art school and as an emerging artist, my art practice was NOT very environmentally friendly.

I used art supplies like acrylic and oil paints, blender markers and solvents.

These supplies are laden with harmful chemicals.

However, all of this turned 360 degrees when I became pregnant with my first child.

At that time, many people were talking about global warming.

There was even a big TV event called LIVE EARTH 2007 to raise awareness about it.

At this precise moment, I promised my unborn baby that I was going to make a bigger effort to change things!

After all, the future belongs to them.

The first thing we did for him was to plant a tree in his name.

Since then, I have switched to art materials that are
  • natural;
  • biodegradable; and
  • non-toxic.

As a photo-based artist, it’s hard not to use chemicals. That’s why I limit my use of chemicals only to the development of negatives. I use my digital camera for most of my work and I print digitally at home. Our family recycles all ink cartridges, markers and pens.

When our family welcomed another child, we planted 2 trees: one for her and one for the family.

We decided to become vegetarian and eat as locally and organically as possible.


10 years later, the talk is the same but with a different name: climate change. I have to admit, I have climate change on my mind almost every day and we often talk and worry about it in our home. But rather then only worry, we decided to do more. This year we have embarked on a journey to go zero waste. We’ve managed to change a few things, but it hasn’t been easy!


Here are a few tips for people who are thinking about going #zerowaste:

1. Take it one step at a time. I find if I try to eliminate too many things at once it can be overwhelming.

2. Talk about it with friends and family. They can have good insights and ideas that you may not have thought about. At the same time you may inspire people to make some of their own environmentally friendly changes. I even talked to my local health food store about bulk house hold cleaning products and body care products. To my surprise, I found out that they are looking into this possibility already. This made me very happy, boosted my confidence and made me feel less alone in wanting less garbage around!

3.  Before recycling, think repurposing.

  • Plastic containers, egg cartons, and toilet paper rolls can be reused as sand toys for kids or donated to daycares, schools, summer camps, and community centers for craft activities.
  • Donate old furniture to places that help people in need.
  • Repurpose old clothes. I turn my kids’ pants into shorts before they become rags or get sent to the thrift store.
  • Use dryer lint as a fire camp starter.

The possibilities are endless to repurposing things before throwing them out or recycling them. (Don’t know how to repurpose something? Email us and we’ll give you some ideas!)

4. When you purchase an item look at the package and ask yourself, is this going to go in the garbage, recycling, or compost? Is there a zero waste option for this product? Can I get this in bulk?

5. Research! Ask your local cheese shop, butcher, etc, if they are okay with bringing containers to place their products in. At Easter I went to my local Chocolatière and she put my chocolate eggs for our Easter egg hunt in the container I brought from home. I was able to do the same with candies, teas and cheese.

There is so much we can all do, and when working together we can make a huge impact.

Have you tried going #zerowaste yet?


Martine Marie-Anne Chartrand

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