Glitter = Micro-plastic Litter
We don't want to be party-poopers but there's no sugar-coating it: Glitter is bad for the environment.
Traditional glitter is made from PET plastic that's cut into teeny tiny pieces which, once washed off, thrown out or blown away, tends to find its way into waterways and inevitably, our oceans. Plastic glitter pieces are classified as 'micro-plastics' (plastics less than 5mm in length) which are bad news in natural ecosystems. Microplastics are small enough to be ingested by sea animals - including those that end up on our plates.
Image via The Guardian
The fact that plastic is so long lasting is both its virtue and its vice. Micro-plastics are so prolific and long-lasting in our oceans that there's a high probability they'll eventually be ingested by plankton, fish, shellfish, seabirds and other marine life. When ingested, micro-plastics can block the gastrointestinal tracts of small organisms and animals, or make them feel full, both potentially leading to starvation.
Worse still, in water, micro-plastics accumulate pollutants and toxins that readily grab on to plastic (it's called ‘adsorbing’), putting the animals that ingest them even more at risk of adverse health effects. Micro-plastics and toxins accumulate ('bio-magnify') as they move up the food chain too: plankton gets eaten by fish gets eaten by bigger fish gets eaten by human.
A recent research study conducted at the University of Newcastle, Australia, commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund, found that, on average, people could be ingesting approximately 5 grams of micro-plastics every week - that’s the equivalent of a credit card! “We know that micro-plastics are entrenched in the environment, in consumer products we all use, and in many different species of animals that we consume directly or indirectly, so it's not surprising they've been detected in human stools,” says toxicologist Dr Peter Jenkins (inews.co.uk).
Another concerning aspect of glitter made from plastic is that plastics are made from fossil fuels. Fossil fuels produce large quantities of carbon dioxide when burned to produce energy. Carbon emissions trap heat in the atmosphere and are the primary contributors to global warming and climate change.
Whilst we encourage a rethink of the need for glitter in general, you can opt to sparkle responsibly! There's a new breed of glitters made from plant-based materials. Bioglitter™ is the trademark and brand name of a range of eco-friendly alternatives to traditional plastic based glitter. It was developed and continues to be developed, to tackle the part of micro-plastic pollution caused by glitter.
Bioglitter® uses natural and plant derived material as its basis rather than plastic, and it's certified biodegradable; designed to biodegrade quickly and safely in the natural environment. It's even been approved of by David Attenborough, and National Geographic named Bioglitter® as "one of their four favourite innovations in January 2020’s magazine" (discoverbioglitter.com).
Sparkle guilt free by choosing your sparkle wisely. You can find our range of Cosmetic Bioglitter® (for the face and body) here.
Written by Anika O'Connell for The Good Party Co.
There is Plastic in Your Fish - Forbes
Microplastic is leading to big problem for fish in the ocean - National Geographic
Micro-plastics, Major problem. - Greenpeace U.S.A.
From sea to plate: how plastic got into our fish. - The Guardian