It’s fun to make glittery holiday cards with the kids. Or without the kids. I don’t know. Don’t judge me.
But if you’ve ever worked with glitter, you know cleanup can be a mess. If it gets on your hands, it can take ages (or some fancy tricks) to wash it all off.
But once it’s finally off your hands, where does that glitter go? Down the drain, probably. And some scientists aren’t very happy about that.
Not very happy about that at all.
“I think all glitter should be banned,” Trisia Farrelly of New Zealand’s Massey University told CBS.
The problem? “It’s microplastic,” says Farrelly.
And once they get into the water supply, they can choke or poison sea life. Even tiny plankton have been found nibbling on them.
Glitter isn’t the only source of microplastics. The majority come from larger plastic objects breaking down into smaller pieces. They can also come from the microbeads found in many body washes and shampoos. In fact, the United States has a partial ban on microbeads — manufacturers were supposed to stop putting them in rinse-off cosmetics back in July.
Now that microbeads are getting the boot, it makes sense that people are giving glitter some side-eye. A handful of nurseries in the United Kingdom have already made the stuff verboten.
The good news is that if your heart is really set on that shimmery holiday card or looking fierce on New Year’s, there are already non-micro-plasticky options open to you. Yes, biodegradable glitter is a thing.
Listen, glitter is amazing. No one is denying that. But with great shiny power, comes great shiny responsibility. Sparkle safely this holiday season.