Wait, Why is Plastic Glitter So Bad And What Can We Do About It?

Our love affair with all things glitter is not a new obsession. In fact, our quest for all things sparkly dates back to the time of Cleopatra and studies have shown that it’s not just because we associate glossy materials with wealth, luxury and status. You simply have to watch a young infant’s fascination with shiny objects or observe the celebration of shimmering aesthetics by remote groups like the Yolngu tribe of Australia to know that there is something more innate at play.


Why We Love Things That Sparkle

Research published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology builds a strong argument to say that our preference for all things glossy is an evolutionary desire sparked by our body’s need for water. And, this desire is being rocked to the max in recent generations with face glitter, body glitter, hair glitter and even beard glitter that has been a firm favourite at festivals. But, it is actually this finding that makes our persistent use of a glitter that damages the environment so quizzical.


How Glitter Damages The Environment

Glitter is usually created by sticking reflective materials to plastics and when thrown-away of or scrubbed off in the shower, those teeny marvels become teeny-tiny pieces of plastic, called ‘microplastics’ that end up in our rivers, lakes and oceans, eventually to be consumed by fish and shellfish. This is horrifying on a number of levels, because not only are we damaging marine life, but we are also polluting our food chain and what’s more, a study from Environmental Science and Technology found evidence that microplastics serve as a special kind of life raft for bacteria in our oceans. When nature is tipped out of balance, it’s a recipe for disaster.


Glitter Is Part Of The Bigger Problem

The case against microplastics is not new. Richard Thompson, a marine biologist and leading expert on microplastics at the University of Plymouth in England has been telling us about the buildup of microplastics in our waters for a long time, saying that “microplastic particles are found in around one third of the 500 fish we examined in the English Channel.” But, is glitter really responsible for all these findings?

Most scientists agree that although glitter is only a small part of a much bigger plastic problem, that they should still be banned outright. And, the world’s governments have listened. In 2015, US Congress passed the Microbead-Free Waters Act banning companies from manufacturing rinse-off cosmetics found in tons of beauty products like body washes and exfoliants.

The UK also took action after a 2016 report issued by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee stating that approximately 100,000 microbeads can make their way to the ocean from a shingle shower. This January, the UK banned the creation of all cosmetics and personal care products with microbeads in them and since June the sale of products containing microbeads have been included in the ban too. And, we agree that no beauty product, no matter how great it is, is worth destroying our planet’s ability to thrive. After all, our fate is tied to that of our home, Earth.

Eco-friendly glitter to your rescue

So what does all of this mean for eco-conscious people who absolutely want to ensure a safe planet, but can’t face a shimmerless world? Luckily, there are some fabulous eco-friendly alternatives to plastic based glitter that give the same amazing effect, without leaving a negative environmental footprint, and Minimal Glitter is one of them.


We couldn’t stand to see the horrific effect that traditional glitter was having on the environment, but also couldn’t quite face saying farewell to magical feeling of being bedazzled. If you are the same, then have no fear, biodegradable glitter is here.

How Minimal Glitter is Made

Minimal glitter is created by taking the cellulose from hardwood, such as eucalyptus and turning it into a biodegradable film. Sourced from nature, it is completely compostable and will harmlessly dissolve in the environment, keeping our waters, ecosystems and food chains safe for generations. Our commitment to freeing the world from the devastating effects of microplastics is only the tip of the iceberg in the pursuit of a fully plastic-free society, however we must start somewhere and the small choices we make today do make a difference.


Following our blog for eco-friendly glitter tips on where to buy glitter, how to apply hair glitter, how to use face glitter dust, how to apply natural glitter makeup and even where to buy cosmetic glitter wholesale if you’re looking to sparkle up your business.

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