Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Glitter

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Since this eco-friendly alternatives to glitter article was written in 2017, new research has come to light. It has been found that eco-glitter is as damaging to the environment as standard glitter.  Therefore 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.

Why A Ban On Glitter?

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, the same article 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. Therefore a ban on glitter, much like the ban on microbeads for the same reasons, would be very welcome.

However, this ban would mean a world without glitter. Some nurseries are substituting glitter for lentils or rice for use in craft projects as an eco-friendly alternative. However, it’s not quite the same, is it? Meanwhile 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

eco friendly alternatives to glitter uk


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. Its eco-friendly glitter alternative 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 sells biodegradable, cruelty-free, and vegan glitter from £3.50 a pot, again in all the colours and sizes you could possibly need. Its glitter is made from a certified compostable film that Eco Glitter Fun say will biodegrade in soil, compost, or a wastewater/ocean environment.

Fulfilled Wishes

The UK-based Fulfilled Wishes sell biodegradable glitter via their Etsy shop. Prices are £4 for 5-gram jars, and it specialises in more chunky eco glitter.

The Mermaid Cave

The Mermaid Cave sells a beautiful range of eco-friendly glitter alternatives, with all its glitter named after endangered ocean species. 

This is the place to go if you are looking for zero-waste and plastic-free biodegradable glitter as all glitter is sold in glass vials with cork stoppers.  All the glitter in its range is vegan-friendly and made from plant-based materials. The Mermaid Cave also says its 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 alternatives, 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.

Wild Glitter

Finally, Wild Glitter sells EU-certified biodegradable glitter made from natural compostable plant-based materials. A variety of colours and textures are available, from fine 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-friendly glitter alternatives then do let me know in the comments below! Alternatively, if you find an altogether different alternative to glitter then I would love to hear!

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  1. Hi, please don’t be misled by glitter – or any other products – labelled biodegradable or compostable are safe for the environment. Items claiming to ‘breakdown’ and be safe for the environment is a marketing con both for businesses and the consumer. Biodegradable products will only degrade if place in the correct waste disposal unit eg an industrial composter. This requires water, oxygen, movement and importantly, mega degrees of heat. We have very few facilities in the UK that can offer this. If you go in the shower or was you hands when covered in glitter, it will go down the drains and eventually into water outlets such as the sea. Biodegradable products will NEVER breakdown in water alone especially see/river water as this is too cold. Please be clear of such claims when trying to ease your environmental conscience. thanks :)

  2. Perhaps the answer is edible glitter. It is made mostly of sugar, and the dyes need to be safe for human consumption. Presumably they would be environmentally friendly, as well.

  3. It is worth noting that biodegradable glitter may still have the same effects as plastic glitter and can even still last for years in the ecosystem before ‘degrading’. Many still also contain toxic dyes that can also accumulate up the food chain and affect the largest creatures in the sea.

    I hate to be so negative, but the biodegradable thing always needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Most of the harmful effect of plastic are from its physical presence and being biodegradable doesn’t inherently solve this.

  4. My issue is that all these glitter manufacturers are producing cosmetic glitter. And £5 for a bottle is fine when I go to Glastonbury once a year. But I am looking for eco-glitter for toddler-crafting. At home and also as an incentive to pass on to Children’s Centres and nurseries. Especially come christmas, glitter is everywhere. So to find a company that does really affordable eco-glitter in bulk packages for kid’s venues would be amazing. I still have craft glitter at home but it sits there, stupidly, because I’m too afraid to use it. I contacted our local authorities about that issue, by the way, and they said that they are not aware of glitter being a problem for the water plant. Now, he could just be a moron, or it’s not as big an issue as assumed. Which I don’t really believe. A follow-up with the water plant is still due.

  5. I completely judged this before I read it and HOW WRONG WAS I!!! I have been enlightened. Thank you so much for this. I never had given it a second thought!

  6. Thanks for this, I’ve spoken to my son’s preschool to ask them to stop using glitter (and plastic/foam stickers etc, etc) and it will be helpful to be able to point them to biodegradable alternatives. But I keep wondering – what about the glue they use? Is that equally a problem?

  7. Hi Wendy. I didn’t realise glitter contained micro plastic although it’s been in the news lately. Great idea to list a few eco-friendly alternatives.

  8. Do you have any idea what to do with glitter we already have in our homes? Just enjoy using it and don’t buy more?

    1. Good question! I would say use it up in craft projects, but try and avoid using it for cosmetic purposes, where it’s more likely to be washed off under the tap or in the shower.

  9. Sounds fantastic, especially as blue planet are now highlighting the terrible effects of glitter on marine life and the planet. I work in a special needs school and the children there put everything to their mouths so this would be a great alternative. Thank you.

    1. Good old Attenborough – he’s my favourite! Hmm, I’m not too sure even eco friendly glitter would be great to ingest – maybe the edible glitter you get for baking might be more suitable for craft projects in this instance?