Hi Friends! One of my favorite craft supplies has come under scrutiny lately and it has lead me to dig deeper into the environmental impact that my crafting can have on the world. You can agree or disagree with me. I am open to polite discussion on this topic. Watch the video to see what I think and feel free to leave your opinion in the comments below this post.
Why might glitter be an environmental problem? Traditional glitter, along with sequins and embossing powder (and other small plastic things that measure less than 5mm long) are microplastics. Microplastics have been found in the ocean and in the bellies (potentially leaching chemicals) into the fish. Sometimes fish and birds can die of starvation when they eat plastic debris as it sits in their belly and takes up the room of real food. Microbeads (the little plastic beads used in facial scrubs) have been banned as they wash right down the drain when used as intended. Some scientists are calling for glitter to be banned next.
Resource: National Geographic
I don’t think out crafting glitter is the real issue as we are not applying it to our bodies and then rinsing it off. We typically use a small amount and affix it to a project with glue. Many of your projects like Christmas ornaments and Scrapbooks are heirloom projects and unlikely to be thrown away but even the greeting card destined for the landfill eventually isn’t that big of a problem in my opinion. I think the good of crafting a handmade card and sending it to a friend outweighs a bit of plastic glitter in the landfill. Besides, if we all through away out glitter bottles today where will they go…the landfill as they can’t be recycled.
Glitter is a staple craft supply, unlike many products we buy to craft with. I am still using glitter I purchased decades ago and it is still as sparkly as ever. You only need a little bit for a big impact. Other craft products can be very trendy and the leftovers get tossed unused because the fad is over. Glitter isn’t like that. My opinion is to keep using the glitter you have for your adult crafts. If you are working with kids or creating outdoors (maybe you are glittering Christmas decorations outside) you can switch to an eco-friendly biodegradable glitter like the Hemway ones I compared in the video. They come in large quantities so they would be suitable for this and are comparable in price to standard glitter. If you are a new crafter and want to avoid plastic glitter from the start (note: I do not think it is better for the environment to throw away your bottles of glitter and go out and buy eco-glitter) you might like this. Or use beautiful German glass glitters. *These are sharp so be careful and not for kids crafts.
We can all craft sustain-ably and it has as much to do with the upstream waste (the waste generated from making out craft materials like water pollution from fabric and paper manufacturing) as it does what we throw away. Purchasing appropriate amounts of supplies and using them up and disposing of our waste in the greenest manor is the best thing to do. If we use common sense we can continue to use our glitter without guilt. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below and til next time happy crafting!