Biodegradable Glitter All that glitters are not green. Shiny, shimmering pigments are often made with toxic compounds or polluting microplastics. It also makes notoriously difficult-to-clean shiny objects around the house a blight on the environment.
A new non-toxic and biodegradable alternative could change that. Within the material, cellulose, the primary component of plant cell walls, creates nanoscale patterns that result in vibrant structural colours. Such material is used to make eco-friendly glitter and shimmer pigments for paints, cosmetics or packaging; researchers report on November 11 in Nature Materials.
The inspiration for harnessing cellulose came from the African plant Pollia condensata, which produces bright blue, iridescent fruits called mottled berries. Tiny patterns of cellulose fibres in the cell walls of the berries reflect specific wavelengths of light to create the characteristic hue. “I thought if plants could do it, we should be able to do it,” says chemist Silvia Vignolini from the University of Cambridge.
Vignolini and his colleagues prepared an aqueous mixture containing cellulose fibres and poured it onto plastic. As the liquid dried into a film, the rod-like fibres settled into helical structures resembling spiral staircases. Adjustment factors, such as the steepness of these stairs, altered the wavelengths of light reflected from the cellulose matrices and, therefore, the film’s colour.
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Sustainable, Biodegradable Glitter
Glitter is every parent’s and elementary school teacher’s nightmare. But beyond its general nuisance factor, it’s also made from toxic and unsustainable materials and contributes to plastic pollution.
Nowadays, scientists at the University of Cambridge have initiated a way to make sustainable, non-toxic, vegan and biodegradable Glitter from cellulose, the main component of the cell walls of plants, fruits and vegetables, and they’re all as bright as the original.
Sequins are complete from cellulose nanocrystals, which can bend light in ways that create vibrant colours through structural colour. The same phenomenon produces some of nature’s most vivid colours, such as those of butterfly wings and peacock feathers, and results in hues that do not fade even after a century.
The Problem with Regular Plastic Glitter
Regular Glitter is complete from small scrap pieces, mostly PLA and PET, which are plastics. It also contains components considered toxic to humans and the environment, such as aluminium, titanium dioxide and iron oxide.
All these characteristics make Glitter an ecological hazard. And although plastic can recycle due to its small size, Glitter falls into the category of microplastics.
The microplastic particles that make up the glitter end in our landfills or wash down the sink. The Glitter then ends up in rivers and oceans, becoming part of the growing microplastic pollution.
The sad truth is that plastic is a single-use, disposable product. Moreover, it can take up to a hundred years to degrade. And its size makes it unbearable to separate it from the rest of the bin!
We would need industrial machinery to break it down or recycle it, which would require a lot of wasted water and energy. Additionally, microplastics generate highly toxic smoke when burned.
Microplastics are one of the biggest threats to marine life. As a result, the glitter ban has sparked public outcry, especially after skincare products containing plastic microbeads were out in 2015.
What Is Eco-Friendly Glitter?
Eco-glitter refers to glittering products that do not pollute the environment or endanger valuable natural resources such as water and energy.
Moreover, its degradation occurs under natural conditions without requiring additional procedures that could contaminate water, land or air.
For a product to be careful green, it must be safe for the environment throughout its life cycle, from its manufacture to its disposal. It includes:
- manufacturing step
- packing and shipping
- Use and Disposal
To make matters worse, the real problem with trash is that they are so small that it can end up in the gastrointestinal systems of sea creatures, starving them and affecting marine ecosystems.
Is Today Glitter Biodegradable?
Bioglitte, a 100% plastic-free and biodegradable Glitter, is now available on the Today Glitter online store. We are the only verified retail partner of Bioglitter™ in the United States!
Our biodegradable Glitter has many uses, just like regular plastic glitter, but with added benefits. So it feels silky smooth on the skin, with FDA-approved colours for use on the lips and around the eyes. This way, you get all the shine without the waste and damage!
Bio glitter Pure will give you a beautiful glow while protecting your eyes. Our biodegradable Glitter is cosmetic grade and complies with global cosmetic and rinse-off regulations. Biodegradable Glitter causes the same ecological damage to rivers and lakes as the ordinary product, according to the first study of its kind on the impact of microplastic on the environment.
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