While a call to ban microbeads has been on the radar for some time, their attention has now turned to glitter – and for good reason.
“When people think about glitter they think of party and dress-up glitter,” Dr Trisia Farrelly, an environmental anthropologist at Massey University told the Independent. "But glitter includes cosmetic glitters as well, the more everyday kind that people don’t think about as much."
Microbeads are made from synthetic polymers including polyethylene, polylactic acid (PLA), polypropylene, polystyrene, or polyethylene terephthalate and pose a huge threat to the environment.
According to research from Plymouth University, UK, each time a person uses a facial or body wash containing microbeads, up to 94,000 minuscule beads can be flushed down the drain.
What many people don’t realise is glitter also contains plastic.
“No one knows that glitter is made of plastic,” said Noemi Lamanna, co-founder of eco-friendly glitter distributor Eco Glitter Fun. “We were heartbroken when we found out.”
That said, there are eco-friendly alternatives available.
Cosmetics company Lush has replaced glitter in all of their products with biodegradable alternatives. A change senior pollution policy officer at the Marine Conservation, Dr Sue Kinsey, Society described as a “positive move by the company.”