GLITTER CONTRIBUTES TO OCEAN MICROPLASTICS
NatureKids says natural homemade alternatives can be used over the Christmas holidays
LOUISE PEDERSON—NATURE KIDS—WEBSITE IMAGES
ith the Christmas
season in full swing and families looking for art projects to do with their
kids, NatureKids BC encourages families to consider eco-friendly
alternatives to glitter this year.
For many people, Christmas just isn’t Christmas without glitter and sparkly accessories, however, the majority of commercial glitter products use materials that are hazardous to wildlife, birds and fish. Most glitter is made from plastic sheets which are cut into tiny pieces and when washed down the drain, glitter particles join the subset of marine plastic litter that is known as microplastics.
Microplastics are a growing problem for marine ecosystems as glitter enter the ocean from rivers via household wastewater and run-off from landfill sites, thereby putting wildlife and marine organisms at risk.
Some estimates place the number of microplastic particles in the world's ocean at up to 51 trillion fragments in total and glitter is part of the problem.
size of the fragments means they’re easily swallowed by sea life and the results
can prove fatal,” says Louise Pedersen, Executive Director of NatureKids BC.
“Fish, shellfish, seabirds, whales and other marine organisms can simply not
tell the difference between particles of food and plastic and will consume the
indigestible plastic bits which can fill up their stomachs and lead to
“There are environmentally friendly alternatives that you can create at home as a family using items you already have in the cupboard,” continues Louise, “You can make your own glitter using food dyes and salt or sugar or enhance lentils and rice with eco-friendly paints. But for those young glitter fans who can’t forgo some sparkle this Christmas, biodegradable glitter can be bought online.’
And the glitter that doesn’t end up causing harm to wildlife ends up in landfills. Due to its plastic and foil properties, glitter has no recycling potential and has been known to clog up recycling machinery.
Glitter-covered wrapping paper and cards are only destined for the garbage, causing an unnecessary contribution to landfill sites.
NatureKids BC is a nature exploration organization for children and their families, and we help children get outdoors to explore, play, learn about and take action for nature. We run an award-winning province-wide network of volunteer-led nature clubs for children ages 5-12 and their families. Through their participation in NatureKids BC, our vision is that children develop a love of nature, a lifelong connection to the natural world, and have the environmental literacy and skills to take action for nature.