November 2020 edit: since this article was written in 2017, new research has come to light that has found that eco glitter is as damaging to the environment as standard glitter, so it is something I no longer recommend. Please see here for more information.
Today let’s talk about eco-friendly alternatives to glitter.
I don’t know about you, but I had been trying to keep my head in the sand about the environmental impact of glitter, of all things. Much like tea bags, I didn’t want to believe that something so fun and seemingly innocuous as glitter could be harbouring a dark secret.
However, it is indeed true: scientists are calling for a ban on glitter. Why? Most glitter is microplastic – fragments of plastic less than 5mm in length. This microplastic can easily be swallowed by marine life, proving fatal to them, and could potentially enter the food chain.
More worryingly, in the same article it goes on to say that “most glitter is made of aluminium and a plastic called PET… PET can break down to release chemicals that disrupt hormones in the bodies of animals and humans“. This is not good, so a ban on glitter, much like the ban on microbeads for the same reasons, would be very welcome.
This ban would mean a world without glitter. Some nurseries are substituting glitter for lentils or rice for use in craft projects, but it’s not quite the same, is it? And sticking lentils to your face at festivals may not produce the desired effect, and may cause people to give you a wide berth!
If you can’t live in a world without glitter, but don’t want to damage the environment then fear not. The future is not lentil based because I have found six eco-friendly glitter alternatives for all your glitter based cosmetic and crafting needs:
Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Glitter
Bristol-based EcoStarDust, whose clever slogan is “glitter without the litter”, sells biodegradable glitter in all the colours, and when I say all the colours I mean all the colours, in varying sizes from chunky through to fine. The glitter is made from plant cellulose, and is reasonably priced at £3.50 a pot. Delivery is free when you spend over £10 and 10% of profits are donated to environmental projects.
Eco Glitter Fun
Eco Glitter Fun sell biodegradable, cruelty-free, and vegan glitter from £3.50 a pot, again in all the colours and sizes you could possibly need. Their glitter is made from a certified compostable film that will biodegrade in soil, compost, or a wastewater/ocean environment.
The UK based Fulfilled Wishes sell biodegradable glitter via their Etsy shop. Prices are £4 for 5-gram jars, and they specialise in more chunky eco glitter.
The Mermaid Cave
The Mermaid Cave sell a beautiful range of eco-friendly glitter, with all their glitter named after endangered ocean species. The Mermaid Cave is the place to go if you are looking for zero waste biodegradable glitter as all glitter is sold in glass vials with cork stoppers. Their glitter is vegan friendly, made from plant-based materials, and the glitter will biodegrade in soil, compost, wastewater, and ocean water. It’s priced at £5.99 for 8 ml of glitter or £9.99 for 20 ml of glitter.
The Soap Kitchen
The Soap Kitchen specialises in microfine eco-friendly glitter, in a more limited colour palette. Prices start at £1.50 for 5 g, but you can purchase in bulk bags, in bags of up to 500 g (a whole lot of glitter!) if you need larger quantities. You can also get 5% off your first order when you sign up for The Soap Kitchen newsletter.
Finally, Wild Glitter sell EU certified biodegradable glitter made from natural compostable plant-based materials. A variety of colours and textures are available, from fine through to chunky. Prices are reasonable too – they start from £2.75 for 3 ml and they can be purchased in recyclable pots or refill bags.
If you find any more eco glitter alternatives then do let me know in the comments below!