Should Glitter Be Banned?
Source:Unsplash, Ali Morshedlou Glitter has long been used along with a glue stick to make greetings cards and Christmas decorations. Children have been enjoying it for decades to mark glittering art with. It is also widely used in certain make up products to add a bit of light-catching shimmer. However, more and more people now realise that glitter is not all that it is cracked up to be. After it has been used, glitter continues to have a life which – like so many other tiny plastic products – has a detrimental environmental impact, especially in the world's oceans. More and more people are now asking, “Should glitter be banned?”
What Is the Problem With Glitter?
Glitter is a micro-plastic. It is manufactured from a polymer known as Mylar which is incredibly tough. It needs to be strong because when it is chopped up into such fine components it needs to be able to keep its structural integrity. However, it is this very durability that causes the problem. With larger products that are made from this material, it is easier to dispose of them responsibly. When it comes to the tiny particles that make up loose glitter, it is much harder. Any that does not go into a landfill facility – a finite resource in itself – can get blown around in the wind and eventually caught up in streams and rivers. Likewise, glitter that is inside makeup products tends to get washed down the basin and into the world's water courses. Source:Giogio55 In the end, much of the planet's glitter will end up where all water flows – into the sea. Once there, glitter can hang around for a very long time indeed. Like the micro-beads that many soap manufacturers used to put into their products, having tiny bits of plastic dispersed over the world's oceans for decades and decades is not a great idea for maintaining such a natural environment. Of course, the problem does not end there because these tiny particles soon enter the food chain, often being picked up by crustaceans and bottom feeders. In fact, because glitter is small and eye-catching to many fish, it is consumed in large quantities, being mistaken for food.
What Can Be Done?
If you have glitter at home, then the best thing you can do is to dispose of it in such a way that it will not end up floating into the sea. Wrap it up before throwing it out or simply keep it until a suitable disposal system is worked out. If you want to act responsibly, then avoid products that use micro-plastics, like glitter, at all. Additionally, you could raise awareness of the issue among people who still use glitter. For example, why not organise a charity gambling event to highlight the issue? Charity gambling is a form of 'incentivised giving' where a charity, rather than a municipality or a private casino, oversees gambling activities such as bingo, roulette, lotteries and slot machines, using the proceeds to further its charitable aims. As we raise awareness of the damage that glitter causes to the environment, governments in collaboration with casinos could even make donations to clean our ocean for future generations, helping to remove all of the plastics that are currently polluting it.