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Biodegradable glitter vol. 2 – For the sparkly environmentalist in you

I tested biodegradable glitter vs. conventional glitter. This is my verdict.

Biodegradable glitter: Photographer Nadya Lev, makeup Risa Robins Moloney, model Tilde Ann Thurium

 

Boy, that was some party! I’m just waking up from it. I won’t bore you with the details about the six fire spinners, the aerial art, the Cow Girl Burlesque act, or the glitter ass slap, cause I’m sure you don’t care about any of that.

 

Instead, let’s dive right into the very scientific test of biodegradable glitter (Read about the test setup here).

 

Decomposing in tap water

I never got around to test this. Mainly because I was home very late and was very tired. Woops. So yeah, I still have to do that. I guess there will be a third post about glitter.

 

On your body

Short recap first. If you have ever been in contact with glitter, you know that cleanup sucks big time. You cannot get that sparkly herpes off you.

If you’ve ever done burlesque, a glitter party, pride, or just a badass new year, you know perfectly well that you will find glitter everywhere on your body.

You will find glitter places you don’t want to admit you’ve found glitter. It’s tyranny and always has been …Until now [Warning profanities might occur].

 

So yeah, this is what happens at 3 am in my house.

Oh my fucking god!

It came off! It just came off! I washed my face with tap water when I came home, and my sparkly face just melted away!!!

I have NEVER in my life tried anything like it. Whatever glitter that was still left the next morning, disappeared when I took a shower. This is a picture of a very tired me, before and after dealing with glitter, at 3 am.

 

In terms of body clean up, biodegradable glitter is APPROVED!

 

The cleanup

Well, I for one can hardly get my hands down. My floor is clean. No glitter! Well, almost no glitter.

On any given day you will most likely find sparkly bits in my apartment. I think there’s a stockpile from the years and years of glitter related events. I got some glitter on my boots, but it rubbed off pretty easily.

 

Conclusion

When tested against conventional glitter, biodegradable glitter kicks ass! It’s good for the environment and it’s easier to clean up. Win-win!

 

However, there are a few things which worry me

There is still something I want to address regarding the bio-glitter.

The founders of bio-glitter told me this about the shine of it:

 

 

 

The shiny part of the glitter comes from a thin layer of aluminum which is in itself not biodegradable, but because of the small amount it is, according to European regulations, degradable.

I’m all down for European standards, but this part still bothers me. A thin layer of aluminum is still aluminum. It might not harm you, or larger animals, but it will still be consumed by smaller animals.

These animals will then again be consumed by larger animals, transporting the potentially accumulated aluminum to the larger animals, which will then again be consumed by even larger animals, adding even more aluminum via the food chain.

 

This is called bioaccumulation.

 

It is still unclear if the bioaccumulation of aluminum is harmful to animals or humans. This article suggests that accumulation of aluminum is related to a number of disease states, particularly those relating to oxidative stress.

 

What to do – High, medium, or low impact

The major issue with conventional glitter is still the microplastic pollution it generates.

As with all things you purchase, make sure that small pieces don’t fall off it, and buy good quality.  Here are a few steps you can take to end plastic pollution.

 

Low impact: Switch to biodegradable glitter. I do not say to toss out all your existing glitter, but use it with care. When you remove glitter nail polish, make sure not to flush excess glitter down the drain, but instead throw it in the trash.

Medium impact: Donate money to one of the organizations working towards banning microplastic, or spread the word on social media

High impact: Get involved in the political organizations that work to ban microbeads and raise awareness of microfibers.

 

Ps: If you love glitter nail polish, like I do, remember you can make your own with biodegradable glitter. Buy some eco glitter, and clear nail polish, and mix. Voila! Ready for the next party!

Biodegradable glitter – For the sparkly environmentalist in you

Just in time for Christmas and New Years, biodegradable glitter is here! And the webshop opens tomorrow, so check out EcoSparkels!

First of all, I am not getting paid to write this. I have been a glitter lover for almost as long as I’ve been an environmental blogger, so joining the two is a sparkly dream come true.

It was also a bit of a slap in my environmental face, as I had never paused to consider what glitter is actually made of.

What is glitter made of?

Well… Long story short, it’s basically shiny microplastic. Yep,  as in the microplastic that nations around the world are now forbidding, because it’s poisoning our food streams.

And I’ve used a lot of glitter. Boy, have I sparkled. I feel really bad about it now, and I hope to the big sparkly unicorn in the sky, that this biodegradable glitter isn’t just a scam. Because if it is, I can’t go back to my old shiny ways, knowing that my shine is really just tiny pieces of plastic, on a mission to pollute food streams, water resources, while poisoning earthworms.

EcoSparkles are hosting a release party in my home city this Saturday, and I’m gonna join the madness. But one does not simply trust biodegradable glitter. How is it biodegradable?

I’ve written EcoSparkles to find out what their glitters composed of. This is what the owners told me:

EcoSparkels are produced from biodegradable and compostable microfilm, made of cellulose from Eucalyptus. The trees are grown and harvested in line with FSC and PEFC standard, ensuring that the soil is not overexploited.

The shiny part of the glitter comes from a thin layer of aluminium, which is in itself not biodegradable, but because of the small amount it is, according to European regulations, degradable.

Both the bio-glitter and the holographic glitter, is tested free from toxins, parabens, and heavy metals. It’s cosmetically certified and can be used directly on your skin.

It’s broken down by natural bacteria, and we [the founders of EcoSparkels] used it for an outdoor festival, where they saw it almost dissolve in from of our eyes.

Because it’s tested free of toxins and heavy metals, it doesn’t cause harm to natural and oceanic life, if consumed.

We recommend using bio-glitter at outdoor events, for example. festivals and summer celebrations, to lower you ecological footprint considerably, compared with conventional glitter.

Crafts glitter is produced mostly of PVC or PET that is oil-based and therefore does not degrade naturally. In addition, we have found that a lot of conventional glitter is loaded with heavy metals are very harmful to the skin by direct contact. This is also very harmful if left in natural surroundings.

Our glitter, both biodegradable and the holographic, is produced in England by the local produce wood. This reduces the CO2 footprint, as the wood is not shipped from the other side of the globe.

Biodegradable Glitter EcoSparkels.

The two founders of EcoSparkels.

Eucalyptus trees are a very invasive species, thus making it easy to plant and maintain a healthy population. We see as a positive use of a plant, that has negative qualities.

However, our holographic glitter is made of PET plastic, making oil based. But it is still tested free and certified for cosmetic use.
Our supplier is working on develop a biodegradable holographic glitter, but it is harder to work with since it has a “rainbow” -surface and thus require thicker aluminum than bio-glitter.

We state clearly on our website that we only recommend the holographic glitter in urban environments and we make an effort to inform our costumers about our ecological footprint of the holographic glitter.

The above gave me a lot of thoughts about the pros and cons of such product, and I’ll have to get back to them in the follow-up post.

I got the reply late one night when I was actually on my way to bed. I lay in bed thinking about it.

Hmm. Cellulose. If that’s so, and it really does dissolve in front of you, you should be able to see it dissolve if you put it in a glass of water, at home –I thought to myself, instead of sleeping like a normal person.

Then I thought, well if it dissolves in tap water, it should dissolve in the shower.

OH MY GOD! Clean up will be a breeze! My head carried on for an addition 5 minutes until I finally got out of bed, and wrote this post.

So now the question stands: I this new glitter really biodegradable to a point where it makes a difference?

Myself being no stranger to glitter I decided to test it, you know, in the name of Science.

The highly scientific setup:

Decomposing in tap water: Take two glasses of regular tap water. Put eco-sparkles in one glass, and conventional glitter in the other, to determine if it does decompose to a visual degree.

On your body: Yes, you know this game. If you’ve ever been part of a glitter party, you know that stuff will never, ever rub off. If will take you four-six good damn showers before you’re remotely clean.

Will biodegradable glitter be different? We’ll see. I’ll document as best I can with pictures.

The clean up: And following the trail of thoughts: You know what your floors look like after a burlesque party or a New Year’s party? Glitter all over the floorboards! All over!

It’s the herpes of the craft world. It sticks like superglue and won’t come off. If you’ve ever wondered why, here’s an explanation.

This experiment actually requires me to bring home a bunch of glitter – and then bother to clean up the next day. Seeing as we have guests come over I guess I have a good reason to clean anyway. But um, let’s just see if I remember to take some I-got-home-pictures.

That’s is!

Stay tuned for the follow-up post next week, where you also get tips on how to combat microplastic.

May you sparkle like environmentally friendly diamonds.