If your children went to nursery when they were little, or you ever indulged them in Christmas crafts, you’ll remember this time of year as glitter-sprinkled! We remember popping down a sheet of newspaper to catch the excess, and trying (often failing) to sweep the spare glitter back into its tiny plastic tube. Generally, our dining tables turned into a PVA glue-streaked, sparkly mess. But it was all part of the fun.
Now, a group of British nurseries have banned glitter from all of their crafting fun – for a surprising reason. It’s not because they’ve gone ‘bah humbug’, but because they want to protect the environment. It turns out that while glitter may only last for a day or so on skin (and a few weeks in your carpet!) it lasts a lot longer in our oceans. It’s basically just a sparkly version of the plastic microbeads that have been all over the news (including in Yours magazine).
There are 8 million tonnes of plastic ending up in the sea every day, and washing glitter off our hands and down the drain is adding to the problem. The Tops Day nurseries chain have banned the use of glitter among its 2,500 children to make a difference.
It’s not all bad, ethical companies such as Lush use plastic-free alternatives for glitter, so we’re hopeful that in future all glitter will go the same way.
While it’s a shame that the next generation of children may not know the thrill of shaking a freshly-glittered Christmas card, it seems a small price to pay if it will help to save our seas, and the creatures who inhabit them.