Published Date: 12/16/19
You now have an excellent reason to say ‘no’ to glitter. Scientists are calling for a worldwide ban on the sparkly stuff because it’s polluting our oceans, is harmful to marine life, and actually ends up back on our dinner plate.
Glitter is made out of a polymer called polyethylene terephthalate (PET), or Mylar - just like those shiny balloons that last forever - see a theme here? Another layer, often aluminum, is bonded to the plastic and then cut into tiny shapes.
Glitter ends up in landfills, where it takes thousands of years to break down, or gets washed down drains, often into our oceans. Glitter and other microplastics make up 92.4% of the 5.25 TRILLION pieces of plastic floating in our oceans.
In our oceans they’re frequently consumed by plankton, who are then eaten by fish. The plastic damages their livers, affects behavioral functions, and we end up ultimately consuming it when enjoying a seafood dinner.
“I think all glitter should be banned because it's microplastic,” Dr. Trisia Farrelly of New Zealand's Massey University told CBS News in 2017.
The Royal Society of Chemistry said, “There is a need to change the way plastic is viewed by society: from ubiquitous, disposable waste to a valuable, recyclable raw material, much like metal and glass. 'It's hoped this will increase the economic value of plastic waste in a circular economy.”
The US and UK have already banned some other microplastics that pollute our oceans, like the microbeads that were all the rage in face cleaners for a spell. And not only do micoplastics pollute our oceans, alarming levels of contamination have been found in tap water.
If you can’t bring yourself to ban glitter from your home, (you’re a different parent than I am), stick to eco-friendly versions that are made from biodegradable materials.
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