Not so shiny: EU bans microplastic ridden glitter

The EU has banned glitter, with the plans set to target glitter made from non-biodegradable and insoluble plastic.

The ban applies to loose plastic glitter, which is often used for toys or arts and crafts, rather than affixed glitter applied to items such as in jewellery or contained within snow globes.

Christmas decorations and party hats from which the glitter comes loose during normal use will be banned.

In Germany, some reality tv stars such as Germany’s Celebrity Big Brother star Sam Dylan reportedly stocked up on glitter before the ban came into force.

Each year, around 42,000 tonnes of microplastics end up in the environment according to the Commission, the proposed measure aims to prevent the release of 500, 000 tonnes of microplastics over 20 years.


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The EU has said “The purpose is not to ban all glitter but replace plastic glitter with more environmentally friendly glitter that does not pollute our oceans”

It also said products that are already on shelves can continue to be sold until the item runs out of stock.

Glitter used within cosmetics, for instance for make up, will benefit from an extended transition period before the ban is applied to that sector.

In a statement Cosmetics Europe said: “Intentionally added microplastics from cosmetic and personal care products represent an extremely small contribution to overall aquatic plastic litter.”

“Based on figures included in the initial ECHA proposal, intentionally added microplastics from leave-on cosmetics represent 2% of all microplastic releases covered by the Restriction, although, evidence presented by Cosmetics Europe during the consultation phase showed it to be less than 2%”.

In the UK many music festivals including Glastonbury have already made the decision to ban glitter via the Drastic on Plastic initiative.

Retailers including John Lewis, Morrisons and Waitrose all also removed loose glitter from their Christmas offerings in recent years.

Nature and the environmentNewsPolicyRetail

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