Why is glitter bad for the environment?
Last year, a number of nurseries in the UK banned glitter because of its environmental impact – and there’s even been calls for a global ban. But why exactly is it bad? Well, what you might not be aware of is that glitter is actually made from plastic sheets – so when it gets washed down the drain, it ends up in the ocean as a microplastic.
Measuring less than 5mm in length, microplastics can be found everywhere from the ocean’s surface to the deep sea floor – and they don’t ever break down. This means they end up being ingested by a range of marine life, from plankton to seabirds. And as this plastic accumulates in their stomachs, they can eventually die of starvation.
More than a quarter of all fish now contain plastic. And as fish is currently the primary source of protein for almost a fifth of the global population, microplastics can end up being subsequently consumed by humans – with unknown effects on health. With a ban on microbeads already in force, as well as potential bans for other single use plastic products in the pipeline, glitter could well be next on the no-go list.
Luckily for the glitter lovers among us, a number of brands around the world have found a way of producing biodegradable eco-friendly glitter made from plant cellulose, so it breaks down and degrades in soil within 90 days – and also naturally degrades in seawater should it make its way into the ocean. So if you’re thinking of dazzling yourself up this summer, make sure your glitter’s green. Here are my top recommendations. Please note that I’ve tried to showcase UK based brands that stock only biodegradable glitter – and not the conventional kind – to help you find the most natural and sustainable options.
Eco Glitter Fun
First on the list is Eco Glitter Fun, which was created by two festival loving party animals with a mission to bring responsible sparkles and plastic pollution awareness to the world. They believe we need to protect the earth from further damage, and strive to use the minimal amount of plastic possible in every aspect of their business.
“As festival season is now in full swing, it’s the perfect time to make the switch to biodegradable glitter. Our glitter comes in plastic free packaging also so it’s even suitable for plastic free July! We can really make a difference if each one of us makes small changes, whether it be skipping a plastic straw, bringing your own bag, bottle, coffee cup or choosing not to buy plastic wrapped goods.”
– Sophie, Eco Glitter Fun
Eco Glitter Fun’s vegan and cruelty free glitter is made from a certified biodegradable cellulose film, meaning that once you’ve had your fun, it will safely biodegrade. Not only this, but 10 % of their profits go to Plastic Oceans Charity. They also have a range of different ‘blends’ available, so you can get multiple sizes and colours in one little pot. With prices starting at £4, what’s not to love? Plus, they’re now available to buy on Acala, so you can stock up on all your plastic free festival look must-haves in one go.
Similar to Eco Glitter Fun’s beginnings, Wild Glitter was born out of festival lover Olivia’s guilt as she watched a weekend’s worth of glitter escape down the drain. As part of her mission to change the way people glitter themselves, her new brand offers an ethical, eco-friendly, cruelty-free way to sparkle. All of their biodegradable glitter is vegan, and made from natural plant based materials. And as part of plastic free July, Wild Glitter have just launched a new totally plastic free range starting at just £3.80 for 4g.
“In celebration of Plastic Free July we’ve ditched our old plastic packaging and made the move to aluminium tins for all our biodegradable glitter, so if you’re looking for a sustainable way to sparkle this festival season then Wild Glitter Bioglitter® is where it’s at. Wild Glitter is made using FSC certified wood pulp from sustainable sources, and is certified as biodegradable by the EU and FDA, as well as being cosmetic grade!”
Next up is Glitterlution, a company that loves both glitter and the environment. Established in 2015, Glitterlution was the first to bring environmentally friendly ecological glitter solutions to the festival industry – and is the world’s first brand to be based entirely on Bioglitter®. Their range is ever expanding, and now includes with more than 350 glitters, available in a variety of sizes, colours and styles, including a range of blends. Refill bags start at £1.99 for 5g, with pots from £2.99.
Last up is Ecostardust, who offer an extensive range of biodegradable glitter blends, made predominantly from a plant cellulose from sustainably farmed non-GMO Eucalytpus Plantations. Their mission is to raise awareness of environmental issues through eco glitter while giving back to the world, as they give 10% of their net profits to environmental charities (they’re big supporters of Surfers Against Sewage, in particular).
“EcoStardust is committed to all things bioglitter! We travel the festival circuit spreading awareness that there is an alternative to conventional glitter and covering people in our beautiful hand mixed blends. We are committed to sustainable living, social responsibility and having minimal impact on our planet and are working to eliminate plastic from all of our packaging.”
Currently, all of their glitters are available in recyclable tins or biodegradable grip seal bags – and they’ll even recycle your product’s polythene packaging for you (or indeed anything made from polythene…). Whatever colour or size you’re after, and whether it’s 1g or 100g, they’ve got it all – including accessories like ethically sourced bags and totes as well as brushes. For all your eco-glitter needs and more, this is the place to go. Prices start from £5.50 for a 6g bag.
After the perfect festival look? Check out Sasha from Balanced Beauty Bristol’s tutorial below.
Do you know an amazing eco-friendly glitter brand you think should be added to the list? Let me know in the comments.