It’s small, shiny and a nightmare for music festival cleanup crews, but the days of plastic glitter might soon be over, following renewed calls from scientists for the tiny particles to be banned.
Microplastics like glitter can be ingested by animals and make their way into the food chain, and while moves to ban them in Australia have so far been unsuccessful, scientists have put out fresh warnings about how your festival makeup might affect the planet, just in time for festival season.
Dr. Sherri A. Mason from the State University of New York’s geology and environmental sciences department thinks glitter should be all-out banned, because it can carry chemicals which are ingested by animals and can eventually make their way up the food chain to harm humans.
“Yes, there are going to be pains associated with reducing our use of plastic, but we have to think beyond ourselves,” she says, as Fairfax Media reports.
“This isn’t about your New Year’s celebration. It’s about humanity, and our ability to survive as a species.”
In Australia, a 2016 Senate inquiry found that toxic chemicals inside microplastics could negatively affect marine life and therefore human health, and some cosmetics companies have since begun to phase-out their use of microplastics and glitters.
Melbourne’s Three Mamas, for example, sells an environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic glitter made from eucalyptus, dubbed Eco Glitter.
“When I started learning a bit more about the environmental impacts, I said no more glitter,” co-owner Kim Makk said. “We found this and it fixed a big problem for me.”
Some glitter and craft supply shops have been hesitant to stock more eco-friendly glitters due to concerns about their quality, but it’s clear that biodegradable glitter is the future.