Glitter is a beloved decorative element used in a variety of applications, from fashion and beauty to arts and crafts. However, traditional glitter, which is most often made from small pieces of plastic, poses a significant environmental threat due to its inability to biodegrade and its potential to enter and harm ecosystems. In recent years, a new type of glitter has emerged in response to this problem: biodegradable glitter, or ‘eco glitter’.
What is biodegradable glitter?
Biodegradable glitter is a sustainable alternative made from natural materials that can break down and decompose harmlessly in the environment. Unlike traditional glitter, which is made from plastic, biodegradable glitter is composed of plant-based or mineral-based materials that can decompose in the natural environment without causing harm to plants, animals, or waterways.
What is biodegradable glitter made from?
Biodegradable glitter is generally made from plant cellulose. Plant cellulose for glitter is typically derived from eucalyptus trees or in some cases, sustainably harvested pine trees. The cellulose is processed into small flakes that are then coloured using natural dyes.
The process of making plant cellulose for eucalyptus-based biodegradable glitter involves several steps:
- Harvesting the eucalyptus trees: The first step in making plant cellulose for eucalyptus-based biodegradable glitter is to harvest the trees. This is typically done in a sustainable and responsible manner to ensure that the trees are not overharvested and that the local ecosystem is not disrupted.
- Removing the bark and chipping the wood: Once the trees have been harvested, the bark is removed and the wood is chipped into small pieces. This wood is then dried to reduce its moisture content.
- Turning the wood chips into pulp: The wood chips are then turned into pulp through a process known as kraft pulping. This involves cooking the wood chips in a mixture of chemicals, such as sodium hydroxide and sodium sulfide, which breaks down the wood fibers and creates a pulp.
- Filtering and bleaching the pulp: The pulp is then filtered and bleached to remove impurities and create a pure, white cellulose material.
- Turning the cellulose into glitter: The final step is to turn the cellulose into glitter. This involves cutting the cellulose material into small flakes and then coating it with natural pigments to create the desired colors.
The resulting biodegradable glitter is made entirely from natural, sustainable materials and is designed to break down quickly and harmlessly in the environment. It can be used in the same applications as traditional glitter, including makeup, crafts, and decorations, but without the negative environmental impact.
By using biodegradable glitter, we can reduce the amount of plastic waste that enters our environment and protect our ecosystems. Whether you’re a makeup artist, a crafter, or just someone who loves a little sparkle, biodegradable glitter is a great choice for adding a touch of glamour without harming the planet.