A recent study has revealed that ‘biodegradable’ glitter causes the same ecological damage to rivers and lakes as the ordinary product, following a series of tests, conucted by the Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in Cambridge, UK.
The study – which was the first of its kind on the impact of the microplastic on the environment – says that the biological and ecological effects of any type of glitter (whether conventional or biodegradable) have never been fully tested.
The production of biodegradable glitter has increased in recent years, as suppliers, retailers and consumers have been embracing environmentally-friendly alternatives. Last year saw sixty UK festivals announce they would switch to biodegradable glitter by 2021.
However, the research revealed that various ‘biodegradable’ glitters also affected rivers and lakes in a similar way to the conventional product.
“Our study is the first to look at the effects of glitter in a freshwater environment,” said Dr Dannielle Green, a senior lecturer in biology at ARU. “We found that both conventional and alternative glitters can have a serious ecological impact on aquatic ecosystems within a short period of time.”
British supermarket chain Morrisons has removed glitter and plastic from all its own-brand ranges in the run-up to Christmas, removing more than 50 tonnes of plastic from its shelves over the festive period alone.
Waitrose and John Lewis have also removed glitter from all Christmas lines, includding crackers, cards, wrapping paper and gift bags.