There has been much news lately about glitter and the negative impact it has on the environment. I decided to do my bit for the world and create this list of biodegradable glitter and other eco-friendly glitter options that allow you to keep that shimmer without compromising Mother Nature. If you prefer, you can also learn how to make biodegradable glitter. I know I have lots of things to make on the blog that use glitter so I figured that with a bit of guidance we can keep crafting! Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.
I’ll confess, that when I first heard about the negative effect of glitter on the environment, I was skeptical.
But I realized that it’s a real issue that needs to be addressed and not passed by as it “doesn’t pertain to me.” I use LOTS of glitter – I think it adds sparkle and life to almost any project. And I really enjoy how easy it is to use.
Glitter, however, contains microplastics that not only never decompose, but they are also toxic for fish (and humans?) We don’t want it in our water, in a nutshell, and it doesn’t do great for our earth either.
To start, I am NOT stopping to use regular glitter.
I am always careful to dispose of my glitter properly, either by using a lint roller, or by vaccuming it and throwing it into the garbage.
I also believe that the real harmful effect doesn’t come from using glitter in small amounts, like I do usually. It’s the huge amounts of glitter from parades and events that gets hosed down and ends up in our oceans that’s a real issue, in my opinion.
However, it still won’t hurt to choose biodegradable glitter or another eco-friendly glitter option next time, right? And to be honest, since I typically look for something with better quality when I craft, I’ve been using some of these better glitters already!
Every little thing we do can help, and by making our choices clear, hopefully we’ll affect some change on the manufacturing level, encouraging more manufacturers to consider producing eco-friendly and biodegradable glitter options.
While I don’t think that glitter is the biggest problem our environment is facing, and I believe that there are many other areas of concern, I do think it’s a discussion is to be had.
And I definitely believe that it’s worthwhile to have some eco-friendly glitter alternatives and biodegradable glitter sources handy so that we can do our part if we choose to!
Eco-friendly Glitter Alternatives:
Crushed glass glitter (my top pick):
I first fell in love with crushed glass glitter when making this “druzy” style bangle. The fact that the glitter is made of glass makes it so much more classy in jewelry making projects!
I’ve also used crushed glass glitter in projects such as these gift tags and found that they didn’t make that mess that glitter is notorious for. You probably DON’T want to use this one in kids’ sensory play activities such as slime, play dough, and anything they’ll be squishing with their fingers.
I absolutely love microbeads!
These are also made of glass, not plastic, and while they could be clingy like glitter they’re not in as many tiny pieces. And they’re made of glass, not microplastics.
I used them in crafts such as my Origami Heart Card. They don’t have the same shimmery look as glitter and I treat it like the “matte version of glitter”.
This is a perfect alternative for kids’ things since they don’t have sharp edges.
Glass seed beads:
Seed beads come pretty much as small as a grain as sand.Use them as you would glitter – and by choosing a glass option, you’re doing the best for the environment. It’s also more feasible for kids’ sensory activities, although it’s not something that will work in sensory bottles, as it’ll likely sink.
The smallest sizes – 24/0 can be hard to find and you might not find the colors you need. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, go larger by choosing a higher number – just don’t go too big! I found the best, most diverse selection here, including some unique vintage finds that will seriously upgrade your crafts.
You can get a lot of the glitz and fun effect of glitter by choosing a rough-cut metallic confetti as a biodegradable glitter alternative!
Etsy sellers and Amazon:
Many Etsy sellers market biodegradable glitter. I’ll be honest with you: I’m not positive it’s all accurate. You may want to look deeper into an individual seller before purchasing. This is the case on Amazon too – may cosmetic glitters say “biodegradable” in the keywords but when you explore the description they don’t share what makes it biodegradable.
One Etsy seller that I found that looks legit is Eco Sparkles. The description says:
This glitter is made from FSC Certified, non GMO eucalyptus trees, it is certified biodegradable and certified for cosmetic use.
That’s the kind of thing I want to see on a description when purchasing biodegradable glitter. I also love Eco Glitter Fun’s mixes (check out the FAQ for more info on how biodegradable it is).
Explore more Etsy sellers with biodegradable glitter here.
Do you think using biodegradable glitter is important? Do you have any other ideas for eco-friendly glitter alternatives?