Glitter- kids love it, big kids even more so, but it is sadly not so great for the environment. While we hate to be party poopers, we have to acknowledge that just because something is fun and beautiful, doesn’t mean it is good for us or the world around us.
This sparkly, magic dust was first used a staggering 30,000 years ago when flakes of mica were used to give cave paintings a more glittery appearance. Prehistoric humans even used powdered hematite, a sparkling mineral to give their faces a bit more sparkle. Nowadays we use glitter on our faces, bodies, hair, nails, and on fabric, paper, and even wood and metal.
Once used by glam rockers like David Bowie and Iggy Pop, now it has come back into mainstream fashion and is used in a variety of colours and sizes, as well as at festivals and music concerts.
So what’s the problem? The problem is that most glitter is made from polyethylene terephthalate and aluminium, the former which breaks down into microplastics, which then pose the risk of hormone disruption in humans and animals. According to some sources, glitter particles could take as long as 1000 years to biodegrade.
While glitter particles are indeed tiny and you might think that the damage they cause is somewhat negligible when compared to plastic bags and bottles, we should still do what we can to reduce the amount of plastic we use. Several UK festivals have indeed proposed to ban all single use plastics by 2021 and the proposed ban includes plastic glitter.
But don’t panic, there is an alternative. On the market to meet the demands of glitter fans worldwide are a range of eco glitters made from biodegradable ingredients and plant products. Just as colourful, just as sparkly, and just as fun, but better for the environment, these glitters do the job and allow you to feel good without knowing you are contributing to the plastic crisis.