Now, don’t get us wrong, we love to sparkle as much as the next person (maybe a little more in fact!), but we also care a lot about the environment too and sadly, glitter is not good for the fishes! In the same way that microbeads from exfoliating face scrubs end up in the water, glitter is also made of microplastics and has the same issues. We’ve been using glitter for so many years, and yet we are only just beginning to realize the impact that this has had on our environment and even our bodies!
What is glitter made of?
The issue with glitter is that it is made of microplastic, with something reflective, such as aluminum foil bonded to it. Although it is difficult to get glitter off your skin (how is it that it seems to stick around for weeks afterward?!), when you do eventually wash it off, it goes into our rivers, lakes, and oceans. Of course, it is here that the fish and shellfish eat it, not knowing any better and being attracted to the shine.
The food chain
So the small fish ingest the plastic and are in turn eaten by bigger fish. These bigger fish then find their way onto our plates, and we eat them! Not only is the ingestion of plastic an issue, but the glitter soaks up all the toxic chemicals that are in the oceans, like a gross sponge, which eventually makes its way into our bodies – yuck! If you saw what it was that you were eating, would you still be happy to let glitter make its way into our oceans and therefore into our bodies too?!
How can you help?
As much as glitter at festivals, in face paint and heck, even on a lazy Sunday at home is so much fun, it is not worth it when you look at the damage it is causing to the oceans and the fact that it ends up back in our bodies. There are, however, some options that mean you don’t have to live a glitter-free life, but that you can also enjoy guilt-free! There is a whole range of amazingly colored eco glitter that sparkles as much as the original. One example is made of a biodegradable cellulose film, and you cannot tell the difference at all! Lush cosmetics also use synthetic fluorphlogopite as an alternative to the glitter in their products. Glitter can even be made out of eucalyptus tree extract and aluminum!
So you don’t have to live life without glitter and sparkle, but try to make a good choice when looking at where your glitter is sourced from. As different eco-friendly options come about, they will become more mainstream and affordable, so there will be less need to even consider traditional glitter. Hopefully, it will go the same way as microbeads, where only biodegradable options are available. But for now, if you find a good eco-friendly option, then go to town and cover everything in safe glitter!