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Greenwashing and misleading ‘Biodegradable’ glitter claims


Glitter Greenwashing

Greenwashing is the practice of making an unsubstantiated or misleading claim about the environmental benefits of a product, service, technology or company practice.  Greenwashing can make a company appear to be more environmentally friendly than it really is.

Like many other industries, the glitter industry is not immune to the alure of greenwashing.  It’s important that well-meaning, manufacturers, brand owners and consumers understand the issue, the terms and the buzzwords commonly used to mislead and deceive.

Glitter Greenwashing – What to look out for

We see glitter greenwashing in a number of guises.  These include; the used of the term ‘biodegradable’ with no other information to quality what exactly this means or evidence to back up the claim.  Declarations from suppliers with evidence to substantiate performance claims.  Test reports that can look officious but when studied relate to testing conditions not related to environmental microplastic pollution or in some cases falsified.

Here are some basic things to be aware off when selecting your eco-friendly glitter products.

It’s important to remember glitter poses a microplastic pollution problem in the NATURAL ENVIRONMENT.   Therefore, it only makes sense that eco-glitter biodegradability has to be relative to the NATURAL ENVIRONMENT.


The Term ‘Biodegradable Glitter’ DOES NOT:

  1.  Confirm HOW MUCH it biodegrades
  2.  Confirm HOW LONG it takes to biodegrade
  3.  Confirm THE CONDITIONS in which it will biodegrade


Raw Material ‘Buzzwords’ used in Glitter Greenwashing

  • Raw Material BuzzwordBiodegradability Performace – The Reality
    PLA or Polylactic Acid or PolylactideCompostable but NOT biodegradable in the natural environment
    Cellulose Acetate or ‘Acetate’Compostable but NOT biodegradable in the natural environment
    CelluloseCould mean many things!  Cellophane™ is cellulose but DOES NOT pass any biodegradability test; composting or biodegradability in the natural environment
    • Microcrystalline Cellulose
    Glitter CANNOT be made from this. It is a fine white powder, used as the test standard in biodegradability testing


Glitter Greenwashing – How to be sure and avoid it

We have thought long an hard about this problem and as explained above there are a whole host of different forms of glitter greenwashing.  There are two key Understanding biodegradability is complex but important

1- Information, education and knowledge.  We feel this is key as it empowers consumers, manufacturers and brands to ask the right questions to avoid oversimplified ‘greenwashed’ terms.

  1. Understnading the key priciples like:-



Our conclusion to this part eduction to but also independant testinFrom simple

Biodegradability needs to be independently QUALIFIED!  =  Independent testing of the finished glitter product:  In the relevant environment/condition to determine categorically; How much and How long.
Certification by trusted third party organisation like TÜV to verify test results are genuine!

Important – All glitters are made of more than one ingredient. The other ingredients in glitters WILL effect the biodegradability performance of even the most biodegradable of ingredients. Testing of the finished glitter product is essential to prove actual performance in the natural environment