How can we make glitter biodegradable?

Glitter - sustainable alternatives like eco-glitter instead of microplastics

We humans LOVE glitter! No matter if big or small. Everywhere it glitters and shimmers in all the colors of the rainbow. Sometimes subtle and sometimes lavish, but never modest.

Glitter is clearly padded, not spilled.

And that in all situations, from the ordinary weekday to the carnival party or the hip summer festival. We enthusiastically distribute the tiny glitter particles on our skin, our clothes and accessories are printed and pasted with glitter, picture frames, candlesticks and Co. sparkle in the sunlight, and in the kindergartens of this country hardly a day goes by without the generous commitment of the Glitter spreaders. “It's great!” You might say now. In theory, yes, if it weren't for this small, unsightly detail.

In most cases, conventional glitter is nothing more than pretty microplastic!

So, now it's out. Were you aware of that? And as soon as you wash your face, brush out the glitter hairspray or move the children's artwork too much, it ends up glittering microplastics in the water or in our soil. And it stays there for a very, very long time. If it wasn't before Part of the food chain because tiny organisms and fish mistake the glitter particles for their natural food or breathe them in. That's pretty bad for plankton and co., Microplastics lead to inflammatory processes in the tissue or to death in the organism of the little ones. And it is no less bad for ourselves than our plastic will come back to us sooner or later. As a delicious fish or seafood platter.

Plastic in the environment and in the body. And all that for a bit of a nice glow?


Some facts about conventional glitter:

  • the most commonly used carrier material is PET (polyethylene terephthalate) made from petroleum, a fossil fuel
  • alternative carriers are wafer-thin metal plates
  • the support is coated with aluminum and other synthetic paints and varnishes
  • For the mining of aluminum in opencast mining in the tropics, rainforests are cleared and the waste products (red mud) cause severe environmental damage
  • Aluminum is considered to be potentially carcinogenic
  • The components of the paints and varnishes are also partially harmful to health
  • Conventional glitter is too small for the filter systems of most sewage treatment plants
  • Conventional glitter is NOT biodegradable


Well, not really good, right? And what now? Very easily: Use ecological alternatives to conventional glitter and fall back on certified natural cosmetics. But the most important thing is and remains:

Less is more with glitter too!

Self Eco-glitter is not recommended without restrictions. The brightly colored coatings made of paints, varnishes and aluminum unfortunately remain questionable even in the organic version, production is extremely complex and with the natural carrier materials such as cellulose or polylactic acid (PLA, made from corn or sugar cane) there is currently hardly any reliable data for how long complete degradation in nature really takes time. In the case of PLA, for example, this can be quite a long time (Federal Environment Agency on bio-plastics).

Mica remains to be mentioned, a naturally occurring mineral that creates a delicate shimmer and sparkle effect in eyeshadow and co. My first thought was YEAH! Mineral sounds great! Well, until I researched that Most of the mica mining is illegaltakes place, and that often children in the East Indian mines have to do a real back-breaking job. So you see ...

It's not that easy with the glitter and sustainability!

And that's why my timetable now comes for you:

# 1 Dispose of and render harmless

Throw your conventional glitter, whether for handicrafts or as makeup, in the (rest) trash. This is a waste, I know. But microplastics in residual waste can no longer get into the water and soil.

# 2 Less is more

Consciously and sparingly use (eco) glitter products for make-up and handicrafts. And don't worry: even glitter-loving children will understand this as soon as you take the effort to explain it to them ;-).

# 3 eco-glitter

If it's glitter, then it's biodegradable! And it is already available from several manufacturers and some even packaged plastic-free in mini glass jars. After doing handicrafts and removing make-up (please use a cloth instead of water), you should still dispose of the leftovers in the residual waste and not under running water. Better safe than sorry!

Shine on, dear ones!