Why some scientists are throwing shade about glitter.

It's fun to make glittery holiday cards with the kids. Or without the kids. I don't know. Don't judge me.

But if you've ever worked with glitter, you know cleanup can be a mess. If it gets on your hands, it can take ages (or some fancy tricks) to wash it all off.

This is just my hand now. Photo from frankieleon/Flickr.


But once it's finally off your hands, where does that glitter go? Down the drain, probably. And some scientists aren't very happy about that.

Not very happy about that at all.

"I think all glitter should be banned," Trisia Farrelly of New Zealand's Massey University told CBS.

The problem? "It's microplastic," says Farrelly.

"Microplastic" is the name for the tiny, virtually indestructible pieces of plastic pollution that often find their way into our lakes, oceans, and even our drinking water.

And once they get into the water supply, they can choke or poison sea life. Even tiny plankton have been found nibbling on them.

Besides arts and crafts, glitter is also found in many cosmetics, such as nail polish or shampoos. Photo from an_photos/Pixabay.

Glitter isn't the only source of microplastics. The majority come from larger plastic objects breaking down into smaller pieces. They can also come from the microbeads found in many body washes and shampoos. In fact, the United States has a partial ban on microbeads — manufacturers were supposed to stop putting them in rinse-off cosmetics back in July.

Now that microbeads are getting the boot, it makes sense that people are giving glitter some side-eye. A handful of nurseries in the United Kingdom have already made the stuff verboten.

The good news is that if your heart is really set on that shimmery holiday card or looking fierce on New Year's, there are already non-micro-plasticky options open to you. Yes, biodegradable glitter is a thing.

Listen, glitter is amazing. No one is denying that. But with great shiny power, comes great shiny responsibility. Sparkle safely this holiday season.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
True

Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

Keep Reading Show less

Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.