If you love glitter, but worry about its impact on the environment, good news: There’s an alternative to the standard, plastic-based glitter that’s causing so many problems for our planet. Bioglitter, a 100% plastic-free glitter that’s biodegradable, is now available at online retailer Today Glitter. Today Glitter is the only verified retail partner of Bioglitter in the United States, so whether you’re looking to glitz up your nighttime makeup look or make your next craft project glow — well, now there’s a place you can go to get that shiny, shiny goal accomplished without contributing to one of the biggest issues our planet faces today.
Here’s the problem with traditional glitter: It is terrible for the environment. As National Geographic explained it in 2017, the sparkly little shards are actually tiny bits of plastic which, when sent down the drain—as is want to happen when you’re cleaning up from a messy art project washing your favorite ‘90s-era body glitter off your face at the end of the night — become microplastic. A type of marine plastic littler, microplastics drift throughout all of the Earth’s oceans, where marine life ranging from plankton to seabirds can end up eating it. They can’t digest it, though, an ultimately, it will end up starving them. Microplastics are one of the biggest scourges of marine life — and as a result, many scientists have been calling for on a ban on glitter for the same reason that skincare products with plastic microbeads in them were done away with back in 2015.
That’s where Bioglitter comes in. Rather than PET, Bioglitter’s core is a form of cellulose made from hardwoods — mainly eucalyptus, which has been sourced from PEFC-certified suppliers. This core is biodegradable in a variety of environments, including compost, approved soil, wastewater, freshwater, and marine. Biodegradable doesn’t mean that it dissolves in water, though; the breakdown occurs courtesy of bacteria and other microorganisms found in the environment. Per Bioglitter’s website, microbes that exist in whatever environment the glitter ultimately arrives at consume the biodegradable matter in the stuff, thereby transforming it into CO2, water, and biomass. If there are no microbes, it won’t biodegrade. Bioglitter is 100% microplastic-free, though, and odds are that wherever the glitter ends up, there will be plenty of microbes who will happily consume it.
Bioglitter’s first product, Bioglitter SPARKLE, which still had 8% plastic, launched in 2016; by the time Cosmetic Bioglitter PURE launched in 2018, though, the company had created a product that was plastic-free and verified microplastic-free, as well as certified OK Biodegradable WATER and 100% biobased carbon content and guaranteed to biodegrade in a natural, freshwater environment.
And, as of May 2019, Today Glitter is the only place you can get Bioglitter in the United States. Available in a variety of colors and a ton of glitter particle sizes, vials start at $10 (although if you’re feeling really dedicate — or maybe, y’know, a professional makeup artist — you can get it in bulk packages of up to one kilogram for about $150). Prefer your glitter to be a light dusting of sparkle? This stuff has you covered. Like your glitter big and chunky? That’s here, too. So is everything in between.
The Bioglitter available on Today Glitter is primarily meant for cosmetic purposes, although you can always try using it for arts and craft purposes if you like. To apply it to your face or body, you’ll want to use a glitter primer or gel; lay down the primer, then gently pat the glitter on top (or, if you opt for the big, chunky glitter, use tweezers to deposit each giant piece of sparkle exactly where you want it). If you’d rather use it for arts and crafts… well, you probably have your own preferred technique for application in that case, depending on what you’re planning on sticking it to. Either way, though, you’re guarantee to glow.