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Is Glitter Bad for the Environment?

Glitter has long been a popular choice for our crafty projects at home and at school. But with more of an awareness of microplastics contaminating our oceans, is glitter only making the problem worse? Are there alternatives? We’ll be discussing whether glitter is bad for the planet together with some solutions if you’re not so keen on using the plastic stuff.

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What is glitter?

Glitter is made up of thousands of small, often round, flat pieces of plastic. You’ll be able to buy it in various colours or you can buy multi-coloured variants. It’s a popular choice with children, especially at Christmas, whilst doing some arts and crafts. Glitter seems to be a staple in any arts and crafts cupboard, but is it really worth continuing to use it to jazz up our creations if it’s bad for our planet?

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Is glitter bad for the environment?

Yes. Conventional glitter is not beneficial to the planet in any way. Essentially, the main reason is that it’s made of plastic. Another reason is because those plastic particles are tiny, which adds to the microplastic problem across the world. Plastic will also take hundreds of years to break down. This means that glitter could be present in the world for generations, whether it be in the landfills or the oceans. 

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Why is glitter bad for the environment?

Glitter is bad for the planet because they’re made of plastic and other non-biodegradable materials. These will only end up in landfill and also in the oceans. Glitter adds to the microplastic problem. 

These microplastics end up in our water sources, affecting our oceans and even our water and food. According to the World Health Organisation, fresh water contains anything from 0-1000 particles of plastic per litre. There could even be plastic in the foods we eat. Bon Appetit claims that there humans will consume around 5 grams of plastic a week, unknowingly, which is roughly the same weight as your credit card. But how is this happening?

Studies have shown that the problem comes from plastic in the ocean, with one study stating that there are around 24.4 trillion microplastic fragments floating around in, at least, the upper regions of the world’s oceans. According to Study Finds, conventional glitter could make up as much as 8 million metric tonnes of microplastics in the sea, so it’s only adding to the problem, but this still only makes up less than 1% of the microplastic found in our oceans, states the New York Times

How these plastics end up in our food is because the fish will eat them. But it’s not just the fish that are consuming microplastics. A study done by Cardiff University found that there are between 86 trillion and 710 trillion microplastic particles contaminating the farmland across Europe. 

Much like the fish in our oceans, farm animals are also ingesting microplastics, and therefore, so are we. Plastic in general takes hundreds of years to decompose, according to the United Nations, so this cycle will continue, sadly, for generations unless we make some changes, and that includes making a switch from conventional glitter to Bioglitter.

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Are there alternatives to glitter?

In short, yes. There are alternatives to glitter that won’t be harmful to the environment. Firstly, there is something called ‘eco-glitter’. This is widely available and it’s biodegradable, much like how you can get biodegradable confetti.

Bioglitter is a certified manufacturer of eco-glitter in the UK. So you can rest assured that it is, in fact, environmentally-friendly. There are very few certified eco-glitter manufacturers in Britain. But Bioglitter is made from earth-friendly products. Hence why it’s been given the go-ahead to be labelled as ‘biodegradable’. 

In addition to eco-glitter, you can also purchase edible glitter. Where this is used to decorate cakes and biscuits, the very fact that it can be eaten makes it better for the planet. It’s non-toxic and can be thrown in with your food waste. This makes edible glitter no more damaging to the environment than any other food product. 

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Willshee’s is pleased to offer waste management services to domestic and commercial customers throughout Burton and beyond. Whether you need a skip for your home project or site clearance services before construction work begins, Willshee’s will be on hand to help. In addition to skip hire and grab hire, we can also collect and dispose of hazardous waste, providing you with all of the paperwork necessary, regardless of the service you’ve chosen. This gives our clients absolute peace of mind that your waste is disposed of responsibly and in an eco-friendly manner. For further information, get in touch with a member of our professional, dedicated team today – we’re always pleased to hear from you.

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