Glitter.

Amazon.com: Glitter Wenida 12 Colors Holographic Cosmetic Festival Powder  Sequins Craft Glitter for Arts Face Hair Body Nail : Beauty & Personal Care

It’s everywhere during the month of December.  Quite literally! In fact, it feels like you open the first door of your advent calendar and a whole load of the sparkly stuff tumbles out to brighten up the rest of the month.  By now, I am usually knee-deep in Christmas cards from friends and relatives, although this year, I am noticing a major difference – substantially fewer of them are covered in glitter.

Glitter seems to be a cheap way to cheer up anything – from cards to clothing and children’s art projects to makeup, but with more and more people becoming environmentally conscious, it seems to be less sociably acceptable to use glitter.

Traditional glitter is made from aluminium and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a clear, colourless plastic which is fully recyclable.  However the problem is that the PET in glitter is so small, that it is impossible to separate from the aluminium and because glitter is so tiny and light, it easily gets blown around and can end up in the seas and oceans.  The size of the PET in glitter means it is classed as a microplastic.

Once in the sea, the PET can be eaten by fish and other animals, or it can start to break down and release chemical that disrupt hormones in both humans and animals, which may in turn lead to the onset of certain cancers or neurological diseases.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom in the world of sparkles.  There are now many companies the offer eco glitter, which is fully biodegradable, vegan and cruelty free, with no genetically modified ingredients and the cosmetics company, Lush, is using seaweed-based glitter in its products.

With all this good news, we can still use glitter to add sparkle to the festive season and be environmentally conscious at the same time!

Until next time, keep calm and apply some Science!

Read more:

http://www.petresin.org/news_introtoPET.asp

https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/glitter-ban-environment-microbead-impact-microplastics-scientists-warning-deep-ocean-a8056196.html

https://www.lush.com/uk/en/a/all-glitters

You Had Me at Seaweed-based Glitter

Glitter: A Sparkling Nightmare for Oceans