Everyone has heard about microplastics, the small pieces of plastic waste created by the disposal of everyday consumer products. Everyone is strongly against microbeads found in thousands of cosmetic products. Everyone knows a little about microfibers, the thin synthetic yarns shedding into the water during each wash. What about glitter? Chances are you haven’t even considered it having a negative connotation. But glitter is a plastic-based product made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) that pollutes the ocean. Glitter kills eight billion fish, oysters, birds, and animals each day, starving them as they innocently believe these sparking specks are food. Glitter might be even be smaller than micro plastics, categorized as nano plastics. These particles are all in the same family, but glitter is seen as the harmless grandma, never the villain.
Today, there are many companies making biodegradable, eco-friendly glitter. For example, Bio Glitz values shining responsibly, making glitter from plants. Compostable and made from renewably sourced ingredients, their formula “connects us all through shine, consideration, and respect for nature.” Another brand, Eco Stardust, designed bio glitter from the cellulose on eucalyptus trees, which is then dyed, painted, and put in a cutting machine to produce hexagonal shapes. Biodegradable glitter has fewer chemicals than petroleum based beauty, craft, and fashion items. Replacing PET with plant-based materials greatly reduces people’s environmental footprint.
From David Bowie to Kesha, glitter has been a key component to countless artists’ performances and identities. Kesha even claims to spend a few thousand dollars a month on glitter. Imagine the impact Kesha could have if she bought sustainable glitter. “Glitter in the Air” by Pink sentimentally sings the excitement glitter conveys. It empowers people to live freely and provides a lighthearted metaphor of hope and joy.
Have you ever thrown a fist full of glitter in the air?
Have you ever looked fear in the face?
And said I just don’t care?
Movies such as Glitter, featuring Mariah Carey, create the idea that the epitome of stardom is sparkles. Underlying the misconception that one’s personality is not enough to be accepted. Millennials created this skewed view of reality where material things are valued over character. You can’t go anywhere without seeing a handful of sparkly hairstyles, makeup and flashy tattoos. In addition, glitter bombs, edible glitter pills and glitter gel, branded as Unicorn Snot, have become a necessity for any celebration, from Halloween parties to weddings. “There’s glitter on the floor after the party. Girls carrying their shoes down in the lobby.” (Taylor Swift) Consumers need to be empowered to realize the connection between what they buy and the consequences of those actions.
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