As many of us gear up for festival season, glitter will more than likely be on our list of entertainment essentials. The growing glitter trend has surpassed expectation, with men and women alike dousing themselves from head to toe. However, this seemingly harmless craftiness is having devastating effects on our earth. Environmental scientists have recently called for a global ban on glitter but there is a solution for those of us wishing to shine on – think glitter without the litter!
The problem with generic glitter is its single-use plastic status. We apply it once and then wash it down the drain. This is referred to also as a microplastic and these account for more than 92% of the 5.2 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the world’s oceans. Glitter is a major contributor to this.
Legislation regarding microbeads, which were commonly found in scrubs and body gels, passed in 2018 banning these microplastics indefinitely due to their damaging effect on the environment. Similar to microbeads, plastic glitters are as destructive and have a toxic impact on humans, animals, waterways, oceans and the earth. The research into the effect of microplastics upon marine life is continuously growing. Currently over one million marine creatures and birds die annually due to plastic. Microplastics have been found to block the airways of animals, while others mistake it for food and ingest it. This has far-reaching consequences for both the aquatic life and the wider food chain within which they sit. As micro plastics travel upwards through the food chain, they also absorb toxins. Nevertheless, it’s not all doom and gloom for fellow glitter lovers as many brands have now created biodegradable glitters, which are non-toxic, free of heavy metals, compostable, cruelty-free and vegan. Praise the glitter Gods!
Biodegradable glitter is made from plant cellulose, sustainably sourced from eucalyptus trees from FSC plantations, as opposed to PET plastic. The plant cellulose is coloured using cosmetic grade dyes and then covered in tiny amounts of aluminium in order to give it a sparkle – approximately 0.1% of such glitters are aluminium. Biodegradable glitters are also 30-40% softer, making them ideal for those of us with sensitive skin or smallies. These environmentally friendly glitters can be applied using aloe vera gel, which will also act as a barrier between the skin and aluminium for those concerned. The bio glitters are designed to break down in the sewage system and very little, if any, will reach the sea. The glitter is ultimately metabolised into carbon dioxide, water and biomass.
It is important to stay conscientious of the damaging consumerism effect on our planet. The invention of biodegradable glitters is a clear sign of the beauty industry taking responsibility for this, without cutting out the fun completely! If you or someone you know is interested in purchasing biodegradable glitter we would highly recommend the following eco-friendly companies; Eco Glitter Fun, Eco Stardust, Wild Glitter, The Gypsy Shrine, Bio Glitz and Glitter Evolution.
*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention