Glitter, although shiny and pretty, is a microplastic. Microplastics are small pieces of plastic that pollute the environment. While there is some contention over their size, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) classifies microplastics as less than 5 mm in diameter. The ocean is basically a microplastic soup and these are really easy for sea creatures to swallow. Plankton have been caught on camera munching on tiny pieces of plastic. Larger animals like whale sharks and other filter feeders will end up swallowing microplastics along with the plankton they are after. Although a whole bunch of this will be excreted, it is possible for plastics, especially at the nanoscale to be absorbed into the body.
So, next time you’re at the store, don’t buy the greeting card with glitter on it, or that cell phone cover (can someone recommend a plastic free option here for the next time I buy a case), or just plain old glitter as a craft supply.
For crafts, it’s easy enough to use rice and various lentils.
Toothpaste & Facescrub
Surprise! Your toothpaste and face scrub can also contain microplastics. Those microbeads promising to make your teeth super white or that face scrub that swears it’s going to go inside your pore and take out all the goop are just teeny tiny pieces of plastic. Forget the environment, swallowing these could end up being a direct health concern. Pick something not so icky the next time you need to make a switch. There are super duper scrubs made from walnut shells and apricots and whatnots, and scrubbing your teeth with something that rough isn’t good for you anyways
Depressing, I know right. When your balloon is done being super fun and floats off into the sunset it turns into trash. I’m just going to leave this picture of a poor Olive Ridley Turtle who swallowed a balloon. Poor guy must have thought it was a jellyfish – their primary diet.