While glitter can be super pretty and seem like harmless fun, sadly that isn’t the case. In fact, its environmental impact has led some scientists to call for it to be banned. The problem is that most glitter is made from plastic, and the small size of its particles makes it a potential ecological hazard, particularly in the oceans.
Glitter is made by cutting huge plastic sheets into tiny shimmering bits called micro-plastics. These little fragments are often smaller than 5 millimetres wide, do not break down and can greatly threaten marine life. When you wash your face, all the glitter from your eye shadow, highlighter and lippy, washes down the drain and gets into the sewage system.
Because its so tiny, it cannot be filtered out and therefore enters the waterways, like the ocean, rivers and streams – where pollutants stick to it like a sponge. When fish ingest the glitter, it simply gets passed up the food chain, to other marine life and to humans. In fact, the problem has become so serious that glitter has been found in sea salt, honey and even beer.
While some companies are making ‘biodegradable‘ glitter, bear in mind that items claiming to be ‘compostable’ or ‘degradable’ are only so under certain conditions. So, try and lay off the sparkly stuff, because other than for looking pretty, it actually does more harm than good.