Festivals around the world are becoming more environmentally conscious, eliminating materials that harm the environment in favour of biodegradable, eco-friendly practices. The latest crackdown? Glitter. In fact, 61 festivals have banned the use of glitter in the UK alone.
After it was accidentally invented in 1934 by Henry Ruschmann, glitter has exploded in the craft and makeup industries, causing many an arduous vacuuming-up over the years. Heedless of the potential mess, many of us can’t get enough of anything delightfully shimmery, shiny and sparkly, and glittery cosmetics such as those used heavily at raves and music festivals are no exception.
Sadly, our soft spot for sparkle comes at an environmental cost. With most glitter being made from etched aluminium bonded to polyethylene terephthalate (PET), it is a form of microplastic — minuscule bits of plastic that find their way into the soil and water, wreaking particular havoc on oceans and aquatic life. This form of pollutant is divided into two categories: plastic products such as bottles that eventually break down to sand-sized particles, and microplastics that are initially produced as tiny units of waste. The latter has typically been defined as microbeads, those teeny little globs found in scrubs and soaps.
These microplastics make-up 92.4 per cent of the plastic floating around in the ocean and take thousands of years to disintegrate. Once they enter the food chain they end up being eaten by humans, and a disturbing amount can also be found in our drinking water. Scientists are still investigating how this affects our brain function and breathing, but many would like to see glitter made of these plastics taken off the market before the full extent of the damage is known.
Similarly to the current phasing out of microbeads around the world, with the UK and US already successfully outlawing them, scientists are calling for a ban on glitter.
Fortunately for glitter lovers, there are eco-friendly alternatives emerging in the Australian market. Bio-glitter has been created, made from ingredients such as cellulose, a material derived from eucalyptus plants. The company began developing biodegradable glitter in 2010. It is currently the only true biodegradable glitter in the world.
That is because not all biodegradable glitters are created equal. Many contain a small amount of plastic, which prevents them from fully breaking down when thrown away, and use unsustainable manufacturing techniques, shady supply chains or are only industrially compostable.
Bio-glitter is sustainably harvested eucalyptus-based cellulose is pressed into a thin film, dyed with natural cosmetic pigments, and then precision-cut into various particle sizes, plus it does not cost the earth.
Here are our top 5 uses for bio-glitter:
- Glitter make-up – if you’re a regular festival goer and love a great piece of body art or glitter bling on your face bio-glitter is the perfect substitute to your regular sparkles.
- Arts and crafts – glitter is a much-loved staple of any arts and crafts session. With most of it usually ending up on the floor or in the bin this kinder option will help you craft on in peace.
- Hair accessories – the glitter parting or braids have become firm festival favourites. Don’t lose your sparkle and protect the ocean by switching to bio-glitter instead.
- Glitter nails – good nail paints free of nasties are hard to come by. Add bio-glitter to your favourite nail polish instead.
- Homemade products – add bio-glitter to homemade soap bars, candles and beauty products.
This is the key to success in the battle against litter: not all changes are difficult and affordable alternatives do exist.
It’s time to go forth and sparkle responsibly! Shop for Vesica’s plastic-free Bio-glitter HERE.