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Life Without Glitter

Volodymyr Tverdokhlib
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There's a case of glitter excess in every angle. Fashion can't get enough of it. Designers are blinging up their wildly-embellished bags with vibrant, metallic-speckled colours. Whimsical skirts in tulle shine with a dash of flecks. We see glitters on headbands, collars, bracelets, phone accessories, and other crafty items. Glitters are everywhere, even on your body.

Blame it on fashion. We see it on runways, on the eyes, cheeks, lips, even on the bodies of the models strutting down and showing off new clothes. Glam teams are blinging up their star-studded cast with an equally bright dash of speckles across their face. Magpie eyes, glitter highlights, even crystal lips; the glitter game is so strong people are starting to douse themselves with it like a magical cosmetic powder. 

You'd see its existence with every fleck it leaves on its trails. To many, it looks like fairy stardust. To nature, it's poison. 

The dark side of glitter

There's nothing magical about it – glitters are made from microplastics – thin sheets less than 5 millimeters, causing pollution in the ocean. These lightweight artsy items, usually bottled up or wrapped in packs, are easily bought from craft stores made to embellish bland projects. Small but terrible, these can easily be blown by the wind or washed down the drain. That's when the damage happens. 

Plastic does not degrade; not until thousands of years. That’s bad news number one. Bad news number two: each day, about 8 trillion microbeads gets washed up in the US' shores alone. Since they're so tiny, glitters can be easily consumed by marine life – plankton, fish, shellfish, among many. Shockingly, a group of scientists have found out that one-third of the UK-caught fish has consumed microplastics. 

But it’s not just fish. In one news reported by National Geographic, microplastic bits were found in many birds, too; causing the creatures to die of starvation. And since the planet relies on a food pyramid, this only means one thing: there’s a possibility that these tiny particles may also end up in the human stomach. 

Does this mean bye-bye glitters?

There’s no need to completely turn your backs on it; glitter fans, take hope. There are a lot of brands trying to create eco-friendly glitter, such as Lush's handmade cosmetics brims with a glitter-filled bath, thanks to its golden egg. No microplastic will seep into the ocean, since this rejuvenating bath bomb is made from natural materials. Beauty Bay has released a mermaid shimmer, to give you a glistening body minus tons of artificial glitters. EcoStardust is a company that creates glitters derived from plants, so you don't have to worry about contributing to microplastic pollution. The same with BioGlitz, who uses a unique biodegradable formula to their cosmetic glitters. A few more noteworthy glitter companies that thrive on sustainability: Wild Glitter, which comes with sustainable packaging, and Projekt Glitter, which offers biodegradable flecks for face and body made from plants. 

Everyone loves a little sparkle, but the next time you pick a pack of glitters, think of the environmental repercussions your extra bling may bring.

 

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