It is estimated that thousands of tons of glitter are produced every year, which has become a major pollutant in the environment. The solution to this problem is biodegradable glitter!
Read on to learn more benefits of using biodegradable glitter instead of traditional glitter, and how you can easily make some and contribute towards preserving the environment!
What Is Glitter?
Glitter is a small piece of material that comes in many different colors and sizes. It can be used for various purposes, such as for makeup, medicinal, or embellishing clothes. Glitter coats or finishes are also frequently used on fishing lures to attract attention by imitating the scales of prey fish.
However, the best part of glitter lies in its aesthetic appeal!
The worst part? Well, the problem with glitter is that its non-degradable nature makes it become a highly toxic pollutant in the environment when disposed of improperly. This can cause major problems since there has been an increase in environmental concerns recently due to climate change.
Not only does regular glitter pollute the environment, but it poses a threat to the lives of animals and aquatic species.
The environmental dangers which the combination of aluminum and plastic used to make traditional glitter poses have led to increased calls from several scientistsaround the world for a ban on glitter.
Traditional glitter and sequins are made of polyester or Polylactic Acid (PET) in the form of plastic, which isn’t biodegradable. This means that once these products enter the environment, they will remain there for decades polluting lands and oceans as well as harming animals’ health.
Glitters made from PET contain toxic chemicals such as phthalates which have been known to cause reproductive health issues when used for cosmetics. Polyesters aren’t safe either since they release carcinogenic particles into water bodies when it gets washed away by rainwater!
Traditional glitter can also be made from metals, plastics, and other materials that don’t degrade over time. Once ingested by an animal or fish, these glitters accumulate inside their body to cause various health issues such as liver damage and starvation.
Hence, traditional glitters are one of the most dangerous pollutants to our environment, as they pose a huge negative impact on our freshwater environment.
In addition to the negative impacts of traditional glitter products on our natural environment, it’s important to point out that these products are made from nonrenewable fossil fuels.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Traditional Glitter
Here are the essential downsides of using traditional glitter:
- They cannot degrade, so they sometimes break down into smaller particles, forming microplastics
- When polymers are burned or heated, they can separate gases
- They cannot be disposed of because they do not decay
- Plastics do not go away from our planet (instead, they must be stored or recycled once created)
- Only 9% of plastic objects are recycled
- Plastics may survive decades or even centuries in the environment before being disposed of, polluting the air and water in the process
Biodegradable glitter, on the other hand, is made of biodegradable materials such as starch, plant cellulose, or other eco-friendly materials!
Since it does degrade over time, it is a much better option than regular glitter since it doesn’t take decades to decompose.
Biodegradable glitter is sourced from natural sources or can be made at home using everyday ingredients like cornstarch, baking soda, and water.
The main advantage is that it will degrade over time thanks to its organic components, which means no more microplastics that harm animal and aquatic species on the ocean floor!
Eco-friendly glitter can also be made of different components, some containing starch, plant cellulose, or lactic acid which help them break down more easily when exposed to the environment’s natural factors.
Since these natural materials degrade over time, they don’t clog up the soil, water stream, and waterways with plastic or microplastics, which will turn freshwater habitats and the ecosystems into a place of death.
Biodegradable glitter might not be as bright or glittery as its regular counterparts, but its benefits far outweigh its disadvantages.
Why You Should Use Biodegradable Glitter
Here are some of the environmental benefits of using biodegradable glitter instead of traditional glitter:
- They are made of renewable resources which means they don’t contribute to climate change
- They don’t pollute freshwater habitats and ecosystems, or harm animals’ health when ingested by animals or fish
- Since it is sourced from natural sources, biodegradable glitter does not contain toxic chemicals
- Since these materials degrade over time, using eco-friendly glitter on a daily basis will help you reduce your plastic footprint
- They don’t accumulate in our environment for decades
- They are made of organic materials, such as starch and plant cellulose
- They pose no health risks to the consumer when used in everyday life
- They can easily be made in the comfort of your home
How to Make Biodegradable Glitter
There are many ways of making eco-friendly glitters at home. However, the most common among them are the floral and seashell glitters.
If you wish to make your own bio-glitter from scratch which will degrade in time instead of polluting our planet, then here’s how:
These are biodegradable glitters made of specific or varieties of plant flowers. A good example of this type is the sunflower glitter, which comes in yellow. Some other examples are marigold flower glitters, pansy flower glitters, and many more!
To start making your own floral eco-glitter at home, here’s what you’ll need:
- Your preferred species of flowers (e.g sunflower or marigold)
- ½ Tablespoon of water
- ½ Tablespoon of natural paint
- 1 Tablespoon of table salt
- 1 Tablespoon of Epsom Salt
- A small airtight jar or container
- Choose your preferred type of flower, or you could gather a mix of them
- Either cut them into tiny pieces, grate them, or use them whole if possible
- Mix the flower pieces with paint, salt, and water. Add more water if necessary
- Transfer the blended mixture into a clean airtight jar or container and seal it
- Keep it for a day or two in order to allow the petals to soften
If you aren’t planning on cutting the flowers, then make sure to follow these steps:
- Mix the salts in a dry container and turn them around to make sure that they’re evenly mixed
- Form a thick paint paste
- Add it to the salt and turn it continuously
- Shake vigorously and let dry for 2 – 4 hours
- Get an adhesive and rub on the roots/base of the flower
- Sprinkle your ready-made glitter paste on the selected area and let it dry until you get a glittering surface
You can now use the glitter to make portrait artworks, decorate napkins, cards, invitation envelopes, letters, and more!
Seashell glitters are made of seashell particles in order to make them biodegradable. These often comprise seashells, either crushed or ground, to make powdered glitter.
Here’s what you need to make this type of eco-glitter at home:
- Enough seashells or beach sand
- 1 Tablespoon of epsom salt
- ½ Tablespoon of non-ionic water-soluble glue
- Mortar and pestle (can substitute for blender)
- Small airtight jar or container
- Get your seashells or beach sands
- Crush them into small pieces using a mortar and pestle, blender, or whatever you have at home to achieve a coarse sand texture with no big pieces
- Mix the crushed seashells with glue and Epsom salt
- Mix the ingredients thoroughly, making sure that there are no big pieces of seashells or beach sand. You must get a fine texture for this eco-glitter mixture. It should be able to spread out evenly on your object of choice when you sprinkle it
- Put the mixture into an airtight jar or container and seal it
- Place the small container in a dry place for at least 6 hours to allow the ingredients to bond well (24 – 48 hours is ideal)
These are just two of the many ways in which you can DIY your glitter at home. All it takes is simple ingredients, a little creativity, and some time for drying before using them in your next project!
Glitter is an important and indispensable part of modern aesthetics. However, the dangers it poses to the environment through plastic pollution cannot continue to be ignored.
To reduce plastic pollution, we all must take responsibility for the choices we make. From using biodegradable glitter over traditional glitter to composting organic waste instead of sending it directly into a landfill, these are just a few of several ways in which you can be part of the solution and reduce humanity’s plastic footprint!