Glitter Yourself Responsibly
This article is part of my "EDC or Bust" series, which is an attempt to bring more consciousness to the choices we make when expressing ourselves creatively and within our scene. After viewing photos from the first Coachella weekend, I decided I should tackle this topic first. Glitter.
It's a sensitive topic, glitter. So many of us like it. I'd be lying to say that I don't. Who doesn't like shiny, or sparkly things? It's been popular since it's WWII debut. If you read the New York Times article, you'll realize how many things are made with it. Lately, I feel like it is even more the rage. I see it being used in the most lavish of ways in festival culture. Bras painted on with glitter, butts covered in glitter, hair lines dumped with glitter, even straight men are coat themselves in glitter. As beautiful as it looks, I can't help but feel that it is so extremely selfish. Shouldn't we all know better right now? Glitter is plastic. Glitter is microplastic.
Glitter takes 1000 years to biodegrade. All the glitter that has ever been created is still with us and yet, we keep making more. Where do you think it goes when we are out partying in the desert or a forest? All over the place. Into the air, into the soil. And where do you think it goes when you attempt to wash it off? Into the water.
Here's the thing I find odd. I feel like there are a lot of conscious people within our scene that are willingly ignorant (meaning ignoring the issue) and due to other beliefs, I know they hold, are thus hypocrites. It is a sneaking suspicion that some of our glitter advocates have probably denied or scoffed recently at plastic straws. "How dare they give me one of those things?" It's possible... But I get it, sometimes it is difficult to connect the dots. So let me connect it for us. Glitter is plastic and the plastic straws debate is not solely about straws. What the debate is really about are all disposable plastics. Why? Because when they are disposed of, and they end up in the oceans, they break into smaller pieces of itself (turning into microplastics) that marine life is eating, being stabbed, or choked by. There is concern the plastic does not harmlessly pass through us if we consume it. So if you are concerned about straws, you should be concerned about microplastics, and also, ahem, glitter.
"So what, I'm vegan?" Well, aren't we concerned with the environment and the food of the animals we wish to save? Shouldn't we be concerned about the living soil that our vegetables are grown in?
I know you know what I'm saying.
So what do we do if we want to be sparkly?
Luckily, for us all, there are now "bio" glitters. Bio-glitters are made with "veggie-plastics", which means they break down into nontoxic components and much sooner than the 1000 year marker. I am not a scientist. I have not spent 2 years researching bio-glitters: who is making them, if the claims are correct, what we have to worry about using bio-glitter as an alternative. However, in the short term, I think it is a great way for a less-guilt sparkle. There is also mica, which gives a nice sheen or shimmer and is not synthetic. The NY Times did mention that mica is often mined in India in operations that use child labor...
Just remember, a lot of the world is created by companies. We vote with companies with the currency we spend with them, and they sell us what we demand. So it's up to US to change our desires and shift the demand. Trust me, they will accommodate by innovating.
In the wise words of Greta Thunberg, "let's act like the house is on fire".
New York Times article on glitter (a must read!)
Scientific American article re: the toll on fish and humans from Microplastics
Plastic Sucks (from Non-Toxic Revolution)
Plastic Pollution Coalition (an organization dedicated to eliminating plastics)
Buy BioGlitter (sharing this link because they ONLY sell bio-glitter)