Step aside plastic glitter, there’s a new eco-friendly product on the market. The world’s first biodegradable glitter is made entirely from plants—and it's available now.

By Emily VanSchmus
May 10, 2019
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It’s no secret that plastic isn’t a friend to the environment, so people around the world are making small changes to help the Earth. Ditching plastic water bottles and opting for environmentally-friendly products is growing more popular by the day, but there’s one harmful product you may not have thought of—glitter.

You may be picturing sticky craft projects coated in sparkles, but plastic glitter is more prevalent than you might think. It’s in beauty products like eyeshadow and nail polish, party confetti, and even bath bombs—not to mention the thousands of glittered home and craft products on the market right now.

Why Glitter Is Bad for the Environment

When you dispose of these items, a good portion of the glitter inevitably ends up in the ocean—especially if it’s a product you wash off in the sink or shower, like makeup. When glitter lands in the ocean, it causes two major environmental problems: It kills marine life and causes extra carbon dioxide to be released into the atmosphere.

Related: A New Study Says the Ocean Will Turn Brighter Blue—Here’s Why

Glitter is made from tiny pieces of plastic—also referred to as microplastic. High levels of microplastics in the ocean lead to more fish waste floating on the ocean’s surface instead of landing on the ocean floor. Not only is that gross to think about, but waste from animals like salps (similar to a jellyfish) is actually meant to trap carbon dioxide on the ocean floor. When it sits on the surface of the water for too long, all that gas is released into the atmosphere.

Unsurprisingly, microplastics are also extremely harmful to fish and other marine life. The plastic pieces end up in their stomachs and ultimately cause them to starve. A high presence of glitter in the ocean also means you could end up eating a fish that has ingested glitter, and no one wants to find that on their plate in a seafood restaurant.

How You Can Help

The most obvious solution to the microplastic problem is to stop using glitter altogether, but considering its popularity, outlawing glitter completely isn’t all that realistic. There’s one small and easy change you can make though—switch to biodegradable glitter.

Related: Balloons Are More Deadly to Some Animals Than Plastic Straws

Bioglitter is a company focused on creating Earth-friendly glitter products that are made from non-plastic sources. In March, they launched the world’s first completely plant-based glitter. It’s made entirely from eucalyptus cellulose core, and it’s the only glitter product currently on the market that is certified biodegradable. In the testing process, Bioglitter’s Pure Red 008 reached 92 percent biodegradation after only 28 days—meaning that after a month or two, discarded Bioglitter has almost zero environmental impact.

Buy It: Electric Gold Glitter, $10, Today Glitter

The glitter, while slightly more expensive, is available from Today Glitter (a biodegradable glitter retailer) and is every bit as cute as the sparkly plastic product you grew up with. Today Glitter also sells biodegradable cosmetic glitter for makeup professionals, body glitter for festival-goers, and of course, classic glitter for kids and crafters. If you’ve been looking for ways to become more environmentally-friendly, this small product swap can make a big impact.

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