I get to pre-school this morning for drop-off and my kid’s best friend greets us with a piece of artwork that is caked thick with glitter. Like it’s a full-on churning river of glitter. I’m not sure how that glue is gonna dry by 3pm. It’s impressive.
Naturally, being five years old, my kid wanders off to the already crowded glitter table to start on her own creation. Hooray! I may as well hose my house with glitter in preparation, cos glitter is like nits. When one person in the family’s got it, we all do.
Now I know, it’s a rainy day, kids need to do art and craft, and won’t someone think of giving these poor kids a real childhood (PS the planet is burning, get to the school strike on Friday) etc., etc., but seriously? It’s 2019 and we’re giving kids free rein on microplastics?
You know, microplastics. The tiny bits of plastic (less than 5mm in length) that they keep finding in the guts of poor, unsuspecting marine life. Remember those little “microbeads” they used to advertise as being in exfoliating products?
Like glitter, they were being washed into oceans and waterways. Unlike glitter, they’ve been banned in the US since 2015, with many other countries following suit soon afterwards.
In 2017 a chain of preschools in Dorset (England) received global attention for their decision to ban the usage of glitter at their centres.
From a BBC report:
Managing director Cheryl Hadland said “You can see when the children are taking their bits of craft home and there’s glitter on the cardboard, it blows off and into the air.
“There are 22,000 nurseries in the country, so if we’re all getting through kilos and kilos of glitter, we’re doing terrible damage.”
The preschool ban even led to an academic at New Zealand’s Massey University calling for a worldwide glitter ban. Since then others have jumped on board, and in the UK retailers such as Aldi are committing to phasing it out of their products.
Here in Australia, even the Sydney Mardi Gras is phasing out non-biodegradable glitter as part of their bid to help efforts to curb plastic pollution.
I’m not saying glitter doesn’t have some good uses. Like the long and noble and slightly pointless but mildly entertaining history of glitter-bombing conservative politicians in the US. Or, like… nah, that’s about it. Glitter mostly just sucks. SUCKS.
Even if you don’t give a shit about the environment and marine life, I think we can agree that glitter is an absolute PEST.
If you’ve ever had anything glittery sent home from school and preschool you’ll know what I mean. It goes everywhere – in the car, in the pram, on the clothes, on the scalp, on the furniture, on the sheets, in the bathtub, in the carpet, EVERYWHERE that you can possibly think of, and you know what? It doesn’t matter how many times you think you’ve vacuumed it all up, you’ll be finding bits of it for MONTHS.
Just ban it already.
And look, if you really love glitter (and getting glitter all over your children, house and beds) then why not investigate biodegradable glitter? It exists. It costs more money, but it’s around. And making small changes like these will collectively cost us less in the long run.