Glitter litter – one of the greatest enemies of the environment. Unfortunately, to all the colorful crafters out there, glitter is typically made from a type of dense plastic called polyethylene terephthalate or PET – the same plastic in disposable water bottles. When washed down the drain, glitter becomes a subset of marine plastic litter known as the infamous microplastic. Microplastics are found throughout the world’s oceans, lakes, and rivers, from the surface to the depths of our water systems. These microplastics are then consumed by marine and freshwater life like plankton, fish, shellfish, and seabirds. Microplastics are not only harmful to wildlife, (causing starvation of wildlife, suffocation of animals, and more) but they have also been found to accumulate in our food chain! Yes, the glitter you wash down the drain may be ending up back on your plate! Sadly, biodegradable glitters are no better for the environment. So what should you do if you do not want to contribute to the degradation of the environment, but still want your crafts to pop with color? Why not try out some eco-friendly glitter alternatives!
- Sand glitter: colored sand is cheap and easy to make. Here is a tutorial on how to make sand glitter.
- Salt glitter: use food colouring and salt to create a great substitute for plastic glitter. If you want a bit more shimmer, try out sea salt!
- Sugar glitter: this simple DIY only requires sugar, food coloring, and an oven. If you want more sparkle, try out raw sugar!
- Colored rice: not only is this much better for the environment, but it is also a much cheaper alternative to glitter. Here is a tutorial on how to color rice.
- Colored oats: once again, another cheap and eco-friendly alternative from ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry! Here is a tutorial on how to dye oats.
- Colored seeds: the best part about this DIY is that you can use any type of seed! Be weary as to not use seeds from invasive plant species and avoid spreading your colored seeds in natural areas and parks.
- Tiny flowers and petals: collect flowers and petals from your garden to use in place of glitter – although it does not have the same shiny appeal, it can really make your crafts unique. Or try out these flower glitter DIYS, that not only smell great but are also vibrant.
- Tiny shells: if you ever head to a beach this summer and come across uninhabited seashells (make sure they are not home to any creatures) consider taking them home for a glitter alternative!
- Recycled paper: ready-to-be-recycled paper laying around your home can be given a second life as a glitter alternative. Simply color your paper with any material you wish (markers, paint, pencil crayons) and use a hole puncher (you can buy many fun design hole punchers at crafting stores) to create an eco-friendly glitter alternative!
- Glass beads: glass beads do not pose the same risks to the environment that glitter does. So, if you want a more eco-friendly alternative, but are not in the mood to DIY your own glitter, head over to a craft store and pick up some glass beads. Brands like Happy Mango Beads and EcoButterfly Organics are made from recycled materials.
As we now know, the real problem with glitter is its PET components that may last for hundreds of years and we are all aware of how hard glitter is to clean up once it has made a mess! These eco-friendly alternatives can give your crafts exciting textures that plastic glitters cannot! To avoid being a part of the microplastic problem, do not stop at crafting, but also check the labels of all your cosmetics to determine if they contain any plastic glitter materials. Together, we can help the planet stay sparkly (without glitter) clean.