Glitter is Banned

Waitrose, Morrisons, and John Lewis have announced they won’t be using glitter in their own-brand Christmas products. Many other big retailers, such as Boots and Sainsburys, have also announced they are taking steps to reduce their use of plastic, making their ranges more eco-friendly for the festive period.  

Morrisons announced their Christmas cards, wrapping paper, gift bags, festive flowers and wreaths are 100% glitter free. Great changes have been made to their own-brand crackers by removing all plastic toys (that are inevitably binned every year) in place of paper, wooden or metal alternatives prizes, all designed to be kept and reused. Morrisons estimates these steps will remove fifty tonnes of plastic from its shelves.  

This is an exciting change by these big brands, as they consciously take vital steps forward in making their products more environmentally friendly.  

Primarily, glitter is terrible for the environment; glitter is made of plastic and is becoming an increasing part of the growing issue of ‘microplastics’. When glitter is washed down the drain it pollutes eco systems, as the tiny toxic pieces are ingested by fish and birds.  

When people think about glitter, it is easy to stay ignorant to the problems it causes deeper down the line; glitter use is mostly associated with fun art activities, partying and dressing up. However, there is a growing debate about the negative effect of glitter on human health – it appears that glitter is not just harmful to animals. 

The government is increasingly pressured to create a legal ban on glitter in the UK. Glitter is easy to go without and switching to a biodegradable substitute is not too difficult. Tescos is leading the way, stating they will only use edible, eco-friendly glitter in Christmas products. 

It is a step in the right direction by these prominent companies, although questions have been raised about whether they are doing enough. By exclusively focusing on their own-brand ranges being glitter free, other products in their stores may still be glittering as usual. Yet change starts from within, and with such big companies taking action, this is hopefully the start of greater change.  

Boots is encouraging costumers to ‘gift more mindfully’, after recognising their consumers’ increasing demand for more sustainable products. The health and beauty retailer has teamed up with BBC Earth to create a bathroom gift range that is kinder to the planet and will save the equivalent of 990,000 plastic bottles.  

Sustainability has been labelled a trend in past years, with leading brands ‘green-washing’ products and ranges in an attempt to seem more environmentally friendly. However, these bold moves initiate whole industry change, and also demonstrate that brands are fully aware that their environmental impact matters to customers. Waitrose have been phasing out glitter over the past few years, and has also vowed that their own-brand packaging will be recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2023. It is not hard for these big brands to make these changes, and such changes will create a massive environmental impact.  

Even those who are not actively trying to be more sustainable this Christmas, won’t miss the needless plastic packaging encompassing products or the endless glitter decorating them. Hopefully we can all enjoy the Christmas festivities without feeling guilty about negatively impacting on the environmental.

Header image credit: Country Living Magazine