real life

Don't panic, but our glitter obsession is slowly destroying the planet.

From sprinkling it in our hair to adding it to envelopes and throwing it around with reckless abandon during Mardi Gras, we are a people obsessed with glitter.

But sadly, it seems the environment doesn’t share our enthusiasm for the shiny, sparkly, hypnotic dust – and now the world’s oceans are paying the price, with eight million tonnes of glitter joining our waterways every single day.

is glitter bad for the environment
Is glitter bad for the environment? The short answer is yes. Source: Getty.

Yeah, you read that right. Eight million tonnes. For comparison: that's the same weight 115 fully-grown adult male elephants. And you can bet if they were jumping into the ocean on a daily basis we'd almost certainly be doing something about it.

According to Australian-based climate change website 1 Million Women, "Glitter is essentially just teeny, tiny bits of pretty plastic."

"Plastic never breaks down and is bad news for pretty much everything that calls the Earth home. Like most other types of plastic glitter can't be recycled.

"If you've ever tried, you'll know how hard glitter is to clean up, so using it again or upcycling it is out of the question."

The teeny tiny pieces of glitter, known as microplastics, are similar to the harmful microbeads found in face and body exfoliants. Given microplastics currently make up 85 per cent of plastics found in the environment, glitter is basically one of the worst things we could be buying and tossing out into the world right now.

is glitter bad for the environment
Sorry, but that glitter lipstick will have to go. Source: Instagram.

As 1 Million Women point out, "Evidentially, all that glitters is not gold (or good for our environment). When we're throwing it around at music festivals or parties, we're basically just littering with gleeful abandon. Being mindful and aware of the impact of the products we buy is key to making changes in our everyday life."

Time to hit Pinterest and find other DIY decorating ideas - or biodegradable glitter products - it seems.

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