Glitter: Bad for the Environment, Apparently

Without glitter I won’t be able to dress like THIS / Image via Getty
Without glitter I won’t be able to dress like THIS / Image via Getty

Last week a string of preschools in Southern England decided to ban using glitter because it’s a microplastic that, although being shiny and pretty, ultimately hurts the environment. Apparently it’s not just messy and annoying.

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“We all know that glitter can get everywhere and is highly likely to end up in the environment, either down the drain or by shedding from decorative items,” research associate at the UK’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology Alice Horton told the Guardian. “So I think there’s no harm in banning it from nurseries for craft purposes given that its only purpose is ornamental.”

“I think all glitter should be banned, because it’s microplastic,” environmental anthropologist Dr Trisia Farrelly told the Independent. And here I thought glitter was grown and harvested on tiny faerie farms tucked away in small woodland villages unseeable to human eyes! But it’s actually made out of plastic.

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We’re not just talking about craft glitter either, but the glitter you find in makeup and beauty products as well. Lush, for example, specifically uses “mica and mineral glitter” to avoid using plastic products. And while experts say that nurseries banning the glitter may not make a huge difference when it comes to plastic piling up in our Earth’s oceans it certainly is a small step in the right direction.

So, for those living in South England, your children’s Christmas cards will probably be uglier this year. God, how that must suck for you (and your fridge.) But at least the environment is a teeny, tiny bit cleaner because of it!

Pop Culture Reporter, Jezebel

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DISCUSSION

I have this tiny little baggie filled with “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” glitter meant to be placed in a card so they scatter when the card is opened. I cannot imagine what possessed me to buy them. They follow me. They haunt me. I have no occasion to use them (why would I want to increase someone’s vacuum duties?).

And yet, I have had them for over a decade. I see them, every time I open a certain kitchen drawer. Throwing them out (into landfill) doesn’t seem to be a good option; I don’t wish to risk their landing in the Bay. But I cannot imagine actually using them.

They do come in handy, however, since I can perseverate over them rather than actually taking steps to get my life together.

So, there’s that.