It's getting to that time of year when the world is twinkling and sparkling, but we need to reduce down the amount that our planet is glittering. From the gifts we give, the Christmas cards we send and the decorations we hang on our trees - glitter has made itself a friend to the festive season but an enemy to the planet.
So, is there such a thing as eco-friendly, cruelty-free or biodegradable glitter? Why is it so bad for the world we live in and how do we avoid it this Christmas? We've got all the information you need to help make your Christmas sparkle without causing damage with the glittery stuff.
Why is glitter the worst?
We're sorry glitter, you're pretty, but you are not eco-friendly. But why is it so bad?
Glitter is made from plastic (yes, plastic!). We've talked about why plastic has such a bad reputation before, but glitter is one of the worst types. Glitter is a microplastic.
Microplastics have catastrophic environmental impacts. Not only is the life cycle of any plastic much longer than any human life, but microplastics are so small and fine, they end up sinking through landfill into groundwater and then, into our oceans.
Plankton, fish and even birds then consume these microplastics. Often, animals die because of large concentrations of undigestable microplastics.
Some research has found that PET - the kind of plastic that glitter is made from - can release chemicals when they begin to break down. These chemicals can disrupt human and animal hormones causing further damage to ourselves and our eco-system.
Is there eco glitter?
Yes! Companies are now specialising in eco-friendly biodegradable glitter that won't linger on the plant for longer than its user. Plastic-free glitters are now becoming more popular and used more frequently and Christmas is the time to embrace the trend!
What is biodegradable glitter?
Bioglitter® have created a trademarked biodegradable glitter that uses a specific form of cellulose that is found in eucalyptus.
By using plant matter for their glitter product, Bioglitter® has created a biodegradable glitter that is also cruelty-free, vegan and compostable.
As a plant material, when it biodegrades it releases harmless substances into the natural environment and it degrades must faster (just four weeks), unlike its plastic counterpart that has a life-cycle of thousands of years.
What is eco-friendly glitter made of?
Many brands use cellulose for each eco glitter product, but some use lentils and other vegetable matter to build compostable, biodegradable glitter.
What to look for.
If you're buying a glitter product this year, the WWF recommends that you look for 'UK Compost Biodegradable' certification on all glitter products. This means your glitter will naturally decompose in compost and does not require special industrial disposal to biodegrade.
What else does glitter appear in?
Glitter isn't just in festive stock products. It also appears in makeup, hair products and face creams so always check the ingredients for plastics before you buy.
The news on glitter isn't new. In the last few years, we have seen festivals (prime glitter arenas) banning the all glitter product on their festival sites.
In 2018, cruelty-free brand Lush removed glitters from their bath bombs and cosmetic products in favour of biodegradable alternatives.
In 2019, Marks and Spencer promised to ditch non-biodegradable glitter on all of their festive essentials across their entire stock. This year, John Lewis and Morrisons announced that they would not use glitter in ANY of their own-brand Christmas stock in a bid to help the environment.
There is a campaign to completely ban all sales of glitter and glitter based products to be banned in the UK. You can sign the petition here.
Does Curlicue use eco glitter?
Short answer: no. We decided not to use any glitter in our vegan, eco-friendly, recyclable wrapping paper.
When we first started looking at options for our wrapping paper, we knew we wanted it to be available to buy without causing any damage to the environment with as little carbon impact as possible. This meant that glitter wasn't possible.
But also, we love the designs our talented designers have created, and we wouldn't them distracted from by glitter! We can think of prettier things.
Creating eco-friendly, plastic-free wrapping paper that was still affordable was the most important thing for us and biodegradable glitter wasn’t a part of that plan.
Christmas Wrapping Paper
We've got six beautiful Christmas prints for you to choose from. Have a look through our beautiful, plastic-free wrapping paper here.
To ensure delivery in time for Christmas, last orders for standard delivery is the 17th December. We can still get to you in time for the festive season if you order before midday on the 21st December with paid delivery.
You can find our full range of beautiful Christmas prints in our shop.