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Why Glitter Is Bad For Our Environment {Plastic Pollution}

Why Glitter Is Bad For Our Environment {Plastic Pollution}

Glitter is getting more and more popular by the day. It’s shining across millions of dresses and faces on Instagram and Facebook and has become the must-have finishing touch for many. Our love for all things sparkly knows no bound. Glittering dresses, nail polish, eyeshadow, phone cases, jewelry – the more the better! Due to New Year’s a lot of stories kept popping up on our newsfeed which has caused us to raise the question, is glitter bad for the environment? After some research we found out it’s way worse than you probably imagined. As pretty and attractive as it might seem, glitter is not that innocent as we all thought and is causing a lot of plastic pollution in our oceans.

While it only lasts a day on our skin, it lasts a lot, lot longer in our oceans…

Glitter is pretty much just tiny reflective pieces of plastic or microplastics. This is what gives it the distinctive shimmer. When we wear an item that has glitter on it and it is left on our bodies or we apply makeup that has it and we wash it away, these little bits of plastic end up in the water where they never really break down. This is bad news for our aquatic life. Since glitter is microplastic and is very small, it has the potential to pass through filtration systems in sewage facilities and end up in our waterways and oceans. Plastic never breaks down and is bad news for pretty much everything that calls the Earth home. Statistics say that 92% of the plastic in the world’s oceans is made up of microplastics. 


When glitter enters the oceans, they are ingested by small organisms. They are potentially toxic and can end up becoming a harmful food source for these organisms. This basically means that these materials in the ocean can replace their food which will lead to them starving themselves by eating this glitter. Now, not only would the smallest organisms starve, but their deaths will lead to starvation further up the food chain as well. This can have a negative impact on humans as well because we are consuming marine life which could contain microplastics. These microplastics move through the food chain and make their way up starting at the bottom as the animals eat each other. The fish that gets caught for humans to consume are increasingly beginning to contain plastic particles, and these particles are killing fish before they even reach reproductive age.

Some scientists are calling for glitter to be banned outright. In 2015, a ban on microbeads—another form of microplastic that is found in tons of beauty products like shower gels and exfoliants—took effect in the United States. BBC reports that “a single shower can result in 100,000 plastic particles entering the ocean.” reported on Elite Daily.


But without glitter, how will we sparkle???

Don’t worry if you can’t live without some glitter in your life, you can still use it and be kind to the environment. You should know then that safe biodegradable glitter exists – unlike plastic glitter that won’t break down and is going to wreck havoc, biodegradable glitter doesn’t stick around on the earth forever and it works just as well as standard glitter.

To name a few brands that can help you with all your sparkle needs…
  • Lush uses glitter that is made from seaweed, so it decomposes.
  • Wild Glitter is another to watch if you want to fulfill those guilt-free shimmer needs. All their glitter is biodegradable, so it’s worth stocking up.
  • Bioglitter is made from 92 percent plastic-free materials
  • The brand Glitterevolution makes their environmentally safe glitter from plant cellulose making it a renewable source of sparkle. They even house it in plastic-free packaging.

Glitter is used excessively only a few times throughout the year, perhaps due to a festival, a special occasions, Halloween etc. However, by skipping out on just those few times can help our environment so much you might not even realize. Now onwards, before you glitter yourself just make sure to think of the environment before you indulge in a bunch of sparkles and if you do make sure it’s the kind that is safe for our environment. Reduce the plastic pollution being caused by such a small thing we might have never thought of. Being mindful and aware of the impact of the products we buy is key to making changes in our everyday life.

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Read this before you buy any other product that will cover you in glitter because it's causing a lot of plastic pollution in our oceans.
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