We all like a little sparkle in everything, let it be clothes, accessories or daily use items, a little glitter is a must. But, imagine covering yourself in sheets of plastic, decorating your walls and stuffed toys by sticking sheets of plastic, hanging plastic sheets on your Christmas tree, and gluing bits of plastic bits onto your handmade greeting card for your best friend’s birthday. Not a pretty sight, huh? And you are probably guessing what in the wide world am I talking. I am referring to the tiny, minuscule particle that we see everywhere –Glitter.
Glitter is present in the pens you use for your art work; it is in the new party top you shopped online, in your Diwali decorations, in the new lip-gloss you bought yesterday, in the craft supplies you bought your kid, so basically, it is everywhere.
Glitter is incorporated into consumer products without any real knowledge of its safety. Tiny particles called microbeads are manufactured specifically for addition to cosmetic and health products which we find in scrubbers and toothpastes.
EFFECTS OF GLITTER ON ENVIRONMENT
Scientists have found that glitter, an easily available microplastic, has many negative impacts on the environment. Though it appears as a small, insignificant thing it creates a vast destruction to nature. These particles are non-biodegradable in nature. Hence when they are washed off and drained down into the water, they are consumed by fishes and other sea animals.
It doesn’t end there. These micro plastics can end up in our body when we consume seafood. Thus they become a part of our food chain, making it a potential ecological hazard.
Research on micro-beads suggests that about 8 trillion beads are released into aquatic habitats every day in the United States alone. So we can just imagine how big an impact it would create on the world’s aquatic life.
Most glitter is made of aluminium and a plastic called PET. Studies have shown that PET can cause hormonal imbalance in animals and humans. Many countries like UK and US have banned glitter and micro beads which pose danger to the environment.
ALTERNATIVES TO GLITTER
It is difficult to cut glitter out completely from our daily lives. Especially, during festivals, we would find it unavoidable. But thankfully the scientists and environmentalists have come up with replacements that are eco-friendly, non-toxic and durable.
‘Bio glitters’ are created as an alternative to plastic micro beads. It is like normal glitter but instead of PET, it uses cellulose derived from plants, making it biodegradable. These are available online. Fortunately, eco-friendly glitter is becoming much easier to find around the world, and more suppliers are turning to cellulose and other plant-derived bases for their product.
During this festive season, if you are looking forward to spread a little glitter on your face or on the greeting cards, just remember it might end up in your food the next day. So let the festivals of lights shine your future but keep that sparkling thing away.