Is Biodegradable Glitter Actually Safer? Read The Fine Print

Biodegradable glitter options have increased in the last years since more and more glitter lovers are turning to environmentally friendly alternatives. Yes, in case you didn't know, regular glitter is made from plastic, and as such, it plays a part in the planet's pollution. But, since we know you want to keep shining, Bioglitter is here to give you spark without harm!

Biodegradable glitter has become a huge trend for a few years now. However, this can be unknown territory for many. You could see yourself falling into false promises of self-proclaimed eco-glitters when the reality may be totally different.

The truth is that knowledge is power and scientific studies exist for a reason. Above everything, eco-credentials are really important so you can ensure your product is the "real deal" and not pure blah, blah, blah.

The other side of the coin is that scientific studies must be carefully analyzed before jumping to conclusions. So, we are here to shed light on the controversy of biodegradable glitter being as damaging as regular glitter.

The Problem with Regular Glitter

Glitter is present in our everyday life. It can be used for make-up, arts and crafts, body paint, and clothing. This sparkly fellow looks shiny and innocent, especially in Christmas cards and decorations. However, there is more to that story!

Traditional glitter has a core made of polyester PET or PLA film, coated with aluminum or glass. So, glitter is essentially plastic, and due to its size, it is considered microplastic.  

Many of the microplastics present in rivers and oceans have taken more than a hundred years to form, coming from larger pieces of plastic that are slowly broken down over time.

However, the problem with glitter is that it is in the form of a microplastic from the get-go! Most of the time, it is used in make-up looks, finding its way to rivers and oceans from the moment we wash it off in our sinks, sending it right into the water system. 

Along with other types of single-use microplastics, like microbeads, there have been huge efforts and a public outcry to remove or decrease the use of PET glitter with the introduction of biodegradable options. All to diminish microplastics pollution in our oceans.

Actually, sixty festivals in the UK announced they would use biodegradable glitter instead of regular glitter by 2021. But with so many biodegradable glitters available, you must be able to set apart the real ecoglitter from the fake glitter options.

Biodegradable Glitter as an Eco-Friendly Option?

A new study published in October 2020 in the Journal of Hazardous Materials apparently found that both biodegradable glitter and regular glitter can cause environmental damage to practically the same degree.

The study was published in the form of a paper entitled: 'All that glitters is litter? Ecological impacts of conventional versus biodegradable glitter in a freshwater habitat'

The study of England's Anglia Ruskin University, examined the ecological impact of two types of biodegradable glitter on freshwater habitats Vs. Regular plastic glitter. 

 The study did not include Bioglitter™ products, basically because in 2018, when the study was launched they were not commercially available.

The researchers collected sediments, plants, and water from the River Glaven in Norfolk to test the glitter effects. Then, they set up miniature experimental ponds in the laboratory, dosed with different types of glitter.

The study's main goal was to test the effects of large amounts of glitter released, replicating the scenarios that could present during festivals or protests. The researchers explained that they were less concerned about the impact of small quantities.

The 'Conventional Versus Biodegradable Glitter in A Freshwater Habitat' Study

For the protocol, the researchers tested the ecoglitters in a freshwater habitat for 36 days. However, BIOGLITTER WAS NOT USE IN THIS STUDY! The ecoglitters used were not genuine Bioglitter. After that time, the root length of the common duckweed plant was reduced by nearly 50%. 

Additionally, they found a decrease in phytoplankton (microalgae) with chlorophyll levels in the water three times lower than the control group (ponds without glitter). According to the researchers, these effects were almost indistinguishable from plastic glitter ecological impact on freshwater habitats!

The researchers did find one key difference, though, between freshwater habitats polluted with regular glitter versus biodegradable glitter.

In the water samples containing the eco-friendly MRC glitter, there was a two-fold increase in New Zealand mud snails (Potamopyrgus antipodarum). However, that was not good news. 

Mud snails are considered an invasive species that can disrupt ecosystems, altering food chains, and overtaking native species. Also, they have been correlated with polluted waters in previous studies.

Hence, this study claimed to be groundbreaking because it was able to shed light on the effects of glitter in a freshwater environment, proving that both plastic-based and alternative glitters can have a huge ecological impact on ecosystems within a short period.

They also stated that all types of glitter, including "biodegradable glitter," have a detrimental effect right down to the base of the food chain. And that biodegradable glitter has an additional negative effect because it was linked to the uncontrolled growth of an invasive species. This conclusion shows to key importance of working with genuine Bioglitter™ which is certified by third party entities to biodegrade in the natural environment. It is time to make a clear distinction between fake Bioglitter and the genuine Bioglitter™.      

The researchers were not sure but hypothesized that these effects could be due to leachate from the glitters, the plastic coating, or other materials involved in the glitter production.

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Genuine Bioglitter™ Was Not Used in The Study 

Immediately upon release, a series of media reports were issued on the 15th October of the same year, based on the study mentioned above. This unleashed a semi anti-glitter frenzy and paved the way for unfair accusations.

For that reason, Ronald Britton Ltd's (The Manufacture of Bioglitter) was obligated to set the record straight and officially respond to the articles published in the BBC and Guardian on the 15th October 2020 and by Cosmetics Business on the 22nd October 2020.

First of all, the study mentioned above was conducted in July 2018. By that time, even genuine Bioglitter™ products were state of the art, and Bioglitter™ technology has greatly improved since that time. 


Indeed, Ronald Britton, the creator of Bioglitter™, argued the experiment did not test newer types of glitter (for example, Bioglitter). 

Also, he hopes to work with Anglia Ruskin University to evaluate the possibility of using Bioglitter™ in testing for further studies, especially since Bioglitter™ Pure is 100% plastic-free and holds the freshwater biodegradation certification from TÜV!

Moreover, we must highlight that in several news articles, the term 'Ecoglitter' was used to describe both biodegradable glitter and the non-biodegradable mineral-based and synthetic mica options.

Of course, all the 'Ecoglitters' studied were shown to have detrimental side effects at the high dosage levels used. However, the impression is that they are all 'biodegradable' glitters. 

This is highly misleading and shows an unfair bias towards 'Ecoglitter,' invalidating the results in itself.

The Freshwater Test Is a Must!

The study claims that only the glitters' core was tested to check biodegradability and ecotoxicity, completely ignoring the coatings. 

However, this is not the case with Bioglitter™ products. Genuine Bioglitter™ testing and certification by TÜV take into account the whole product and ecotoxicity.

Ronald Britton is the world's only Bioglittermanufacturer that offers products with the' OK biodegradable WATER' certification by TÜV Austria. This is the highest level of third-party (independent) certification for freshwater biodegradability in the whole world.

Unrealistic Conditions

We considered that the study above significantly overdosed the test environments by up to 1000 times the amounts reasonably expected under natural conditions. 

Even inorganic non-biodegradable products, such as natural mica and synthetic mica glitter options, showed an impact. However, the results were blown over proportions because heavily overloading the micro test environment can definitely have some sort of effect.  

For example, if you pile sand on grass, undoubtedly, this will have an effect on the grass right below.

Also, the study does not consider that a product like genuine Bioglitter™ biodegrades in natural, freshwater environments as fast as 28-30 days. So, it does not build up over time under natural conditions! 

Bioglitter™ Eco-Credentials

We know that you are a true glitter lover, and you won't give up your spark anytime soon. However, you can make an eco-friendly choice and go with Bioglitter™ instead.

Bioglitter™ is an environmentally safe ecoglitter with a core made from eucalyptus plant cellulose, not plastic. It is designed to degrade up to 90% under natural conditions with the help of water, bacteria, and temperature. Bioglitter™ degrades just as a leaf would!

Bioglitter also is:

  • CMR free. It is safe for humans.
  • Allergen-free. It doesn't contain allergens declared by the FDA.
  • GMO-free. No genetic engineering is involved.
  • Cruelty-free. Neither the product nor its ingredients are tested on animals.
  •  Non-toxic, and it doesn't contain heavy metals either.

 Our biodegradable glitter has many uses, just like plastic glitter, including arts and crafts, but with additional benefits, because it also qualifies as a cosmetic grade glitter. 

Additionally, Bioglitter™ is 40% softer on the skin and FDA-approved to use on the skin, lips, and around the eyes. So, you can get all the shimmer without the harm when recreating beautiful make-up looks!

Stay Away from Greenwashing

Many glitter brands claim to be biodegradable, eco-friendly, and 100% plastic-free. However, they might be compostable glitter or just plain lying about their true product's characteristics.

Remember, compostable glitter is not naturally biodegradable! It requires special composting facilities plus high temperatures, tons of energy, and water wasted to complete its degradation. The key is to be degradable under natural conditions, just like our Bioglitter™!

A quick tip: If they fail the freshwater test or refuse to show the results to prove their eco-credentials, they are fake bioglitters! Only Bioglitter™ is the real biodegradable glitter.

So, Yes! Biodegradable glitter is totally safer, as long as you use our Bioglitter! Do not let yourself be influenced by the top stories of the moment or misleading claims without basis. With Bioglitter, you will have lots of sparks while keeping your planet safe and clean. 

Bioglitter Sparkle & Bioglitter Pure

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