Is Glitter Biodegradable? (And Bad for Environment?)

So, you love your craft sessions? There is no limit to what you can achieve with a creative mind and the right supplies. One failproof way to spruce up the aesthetic of your finished project is to use glitter. Or maybe you enjoy applying glitter on drab furniture, walls, and other parts of your home that desperately need a makeover.

There are many reasons you would own and use glitter. It is an indispensable DIY material, which requires us to ask what happens when you no longer need the glitter. Does glitter biodegrade? Is there glitter that dissolves in water?

This article is aimed at creating awareness on the effect of glitter on our environment. Are there eco-friendly glitter alternatives? Keep reading, and you will find the answers to these questions.

Does Glitter Biodegrade?

Glitters are fancy items, and they come in different sizes, shapes, colors and are used for variety of purposes. When we talk of glamorous brand, glitter might come to mind from skin products to make up products, holiday decorations, greeting cards, nail polish and some are even edibles.

No, glitter does not biodegrade. It may look sparkly and eco-friendly, but glitter is a collection of colored microplastics, and you know how it goes with these waste items. Microplastics are nonbiodegradable; they fly around the atmosphere or remain in the soil or water bodies, depending on where the air carries them.

Glitter is a versatile product that many industries use. DIYs, artists, fashion designers, professional and amateur creatives, and just about anyone who needs to improve the aesthetics of something.

They are made from different materials ranging from stones, glass, aluminum and plastic. Regular glitters are essentially made from microplastic, and because they are made from plastic, they do not biodegrade. Instead, they exist for years, polluting the land and water.

The cosmetic industry uses glitter for body lotions, mists, and makeup. These microplastics are everywhere, knowingly, and unknowingly.

Glitter is made from aluminum or plastic coated with paint and metals for that extra glimmer. PVC, PET, and polyester are plastics that popularly form glitter and are not biodegradable.

They will break down into particles smaller than 5mm. But even before glitter breaks down into the smallest particles, it can wreak havoc on the ecosystem if it gets in the wrong place.

For instance, if glitter finds its way into the aquatic world, which it usually does, it pollutes our water bodies. When we rinse off our makeup, the glitter enters our sewage systems but is too small to be taken out by the treatments waste water goes through.

So, it remains in our water bodies, poisoning marine creatures and rec-circulating back for consumption. Microplastics never dissipate. The unnatural nature of microplastics in marine environments disrupts biodiversity and releases toxic chemicals popularly associated with PVC, PET, and polyester materials.

There are microplastics everywhere, and there is a global call to reduce our creation and consumption of them. Or, at the very least, consider more eco-friendly options.

Is Colourpop Glitter Biodegradable?

Yes, Colourpop glitter is biodegradable. It is made from materials that can easily and quickly be broken down by the microorganisms responsible for biodegradation.

Colourpop cosmetics are everywhere because of the affordable price and good quality, so it is a good thing that this brand is choosing sustainability and eco-friendliness. In addition, Colourpop is famous for being plant-based and vegan-friendly.

Color pop glitter is one of the few in the beauty market that is biodegradable. It is made in a way that when it is disposed, it can be broken down into bits. These bits will be absorbed by bacteria instead of causing pollution by being impossible to decompose for absorption by bacteria.

In all, Color pop glitter is biodegradable.

In a world where beauty and aesthetics are a priority, cosmetic products will undoubtedly thrive. And it is a good thing; it gives people the opportunity to improve their appearance, and if you are like Colourpop, providing affordability and quality, you will win people’s hearts.

Furthermore, Colourpop glitter is so versatile that it can be used for nail design amplification, body art, face painting, and just about any crafty project. It won’t need environmentally harmful substances like adhesives. 

This is a more sustainable option compared to the microplastics that major glitter companies rely on.

The difference between Colourpop and regular glitter is environmental consciousness. Biodegradability is the first notable win for natural glitter because the ecosystem doesn’t need to bear the burden of your creative streak.

Instead, microorganisms can easily break it down because it is cruelty-free and made of plant matter. Items like this will not last in the ecosystem because they are biodegradable.

So, now you can do your makeup and shimmer without reneging on your responsibilities as a conscious environment user.


Why is Glitter Bad for the Environment?

As earlier stated, (most) glitter are made from plastic. It cannot be broken down nor can it be recycled. In this case, it ends up in a landfill where it will be washed away by rain or washed away by drains into waterways. Through this it could find its way into the food chain, thereby posing a threat to society.

Furthermore, because glitter is not biodegradable, it can pollute the land, waters, clog sewage and pipes could be ingested by land animals and marine animals and this can amount to a fatal result.

So, why is glitter bad for the environment? To answer this salient question, recourse has to be made to research findings.

Glitter is bad for the environment because it is non-biodegradable. This means it will not break down even in the presence of the sun’s unforgiving ultraviolet rays. Glitter is made from plastic most commonly, but glass and metals can also work for the mesmerizing effect.

However, it is at the cost of the ecosystem because these materials are complex, if not impossible, for microbes to decompose.

Glitter is used in large quantities every day. Think about it – it is present in just about anything, and you can add it to anything you desire. However, unless it is made from materials like cellulose, lentils, and other plant parts, then it is just an environmental hazard.

Glitter is bad for the environment because it is non-biodegradable. Even weather factors will not decompose it. So, it remains around forever, slowly spreading everywhere, from our landfills to water bodies to even our food.

The effects of microplastics are unfavorable. They can be found on the surface of the oceans and the ocean beds. AmericanOceans says that microplastics account for 92 percent of the plastic in the sea.

This is disastrous for our marine creatures because glitter is also dangerous; it exudes chemicals because of what it is made of. These substances can poison the water, making the environment unsafe for aquatic wildlife.

The ocean now contains more plastic than fish; hard to believe, right?

Think about it this way. Glitter from makeup has become exceedingly popular these days, and so has the trend of skincare routines.

If you fail to remove your makeup before bed, you expose yourself to unsavory skin conditions from the makeup ingredients, especially if they are not made from organic ingredients.

Washing off your makeup before bed sends the glitters and other nonbiodegradable ingredients down the drain. It goes through the sewage system, and glitter is much too small to be trapped by the treatments or attempts to clean the water.

Therefore, it ends up in our water bodies, polluting them beyond reasonable measure.

A single plastic bag is enough to create millions of microplastics. Studies have shown that this substance is unsuitable for the internal organs of mammals, other vertebrates, and invertebrates.

Unfortunately, it spreads so quickly that just walking on some microplastics can transport them miles away. And, of course, they are tiny particles, which means the air can help them spread across the globe with relative ease.

But do you know what is even more alarming? Nanoplastics are even smaller than microplastics and tend to do even more harm! They are so small that our most advanced telescopes barely see them clearly, but they are everywhere.

Nanoplastic is the final result of degraded plastic. It takes forever, but when glitter finally breaks down, it becomes nanoplastic, which we may be incapable of completely getting rid of.

How Long Does it Take for Glitter to Decompose?

Normal glitters made from plastics do not decompose but biodegradable glitters decompose because they are made from Eco-friendly materials.

It takes between 20 to 500 years for glitter to decompose. And unfortunately, it may just never happen. Glitter is a microplastic, and plastic isn’t the most environmentally friendly product on the market. You can also make glitter from metals that do not biodegrade in time. Plastic is a notorious decomposer that can take as long as a thousand years to break down.

Microplastics are among the greatest danger to the environment. They poison every aspect of biodiversity!

Glitter is no better, mainly because it combines everything harmful to the environment into one tiny, sparkly piece. There is something called glitter pollution, akin to a party clown that commits murders at night.

Yes, you get an aesthetically pleasing environment for a while, but after the glitters use up their time with you, they pollute water bodies, the soil, landfills, and even our food!

Glitters look harmless and attractive, but they don’t do well in the digestive system, ours, and that of our aquatic creatures and other wildlife.

Glitter does not decompose. It is already in its smallest form, which is microplastic. But this one’s even worse because it is covered in paint and other environmentally toxic substances.

For biodegradable glitter, the exact duration of the biodegradation process varies. Biodegradable glitters biodegrade with four naturally found elements which are;

1. Water

2. Heat

3. Oxygen and

4. Microorganisms

A biodegradable glitter should take four (4) weeks to biodegradable but it sometimes takes 2 to 3 months depending on the component of the material used. The biodegradation also depends on the environment.

Does Biodegradable Glitter Dissolve in Water?

The best options do! Biodegradable glitter becomes even more attractive and appealing when there is an assurance that it breaks down in the water. That way, when you wash off your makeup or face paint, you have the assurance that it won’t harm the ecosystem or remain there forever.

Biodegradable glitter is an innovation, and the ones that dissolve in water are a greater step up. The decision to go green is supported by many, and we are either recycling or choosing sustainable materials which are excellent for the environment.

Biodegradable glitter is made from plant-based cellulose, which can dissolve in water. It can dissolve anywhere, and it will happen fast.

Our water bodies are among the greatest victims of environmental pollution, and glitter from makeup and other craft activities ends up there. Therefore, it has become critical that glitters that favor our water bodies be created, and the request has been granted.

So far, one biodegradable glitter brand has passed the water test, dissolving into nothingness within a month.

If it ends up in the oceans, it will break down. And if biodiversity somehow manages to consume some particles, nothing will befall them.

But again, not all biodegradable glitter will pass the water test. That doesn’t mean they are not better for the environment. They will also break down, but their decomposition rate may not be as fast as those that dissolve in water.

Five Best Eco-Friendly Glitter Alternatives on Amazon

Check out the best eco-friendly glitter alternatives on Amazon:

1. Dazzling Gem Collection

This is a biodegradable glitter product that you can add to your makeup, use for face painting, body glitter, DIY projects, and just about anything creative and glamorous. It comes in blue, green, and purple colors, but more importantly, it is environmentally friendly and sustainable.

2. Karizma Beauty Rhythm Biodegradable Chunky Glitter

Check this glitter brand out if you want sustainable products that will break down under the action of microbes. It gives you a golden sheen when applied to the face or body, but you can also use it for crafts and DIYs.

It comes in star shapes.

3. Moonlit Silver Biodegradable Glitter

Moonlit glitter is made from plant cellulose and is thereby biodegradable. It comes in silver color and can be used for just about anything creative or artsy.

4. Renfio Ultra Fine Glitter Powder

There are many glitter colors from this brand, and they are all biodegradable. You can use them for nail art, art projects, or makeovers.

5. On Point Pink Biodegradable Glitter

You can use this brand of biodegradable glitter to bring your creative and glamorous ideas to life. It is the brightest shade of pink and comes in great packaging.


Biodegradable glitter is the solution to glitter pollution. In the real sense of it, glitter is just a harmful microplastic in disguise. Sure, it is given different attractive colors, but the conventional product has a disastrous effect on the ecosystem.

It never breaks down, which means it will always disrupt and possibly poison the balance of the ecosystem. Not ready to part ways with glitter, shimmer, and spark? Well, you can always try biodegradable options, and we have explored five awesome Amazon finds.

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About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.