Researchers Create Sustainable, Vegan Glitter Just in Time for Christmas


Researchers at Cambridge University have found a way to create sustainable, non-toxic, vegan glitter. With around 5,500 tonnes of microplastics produced every year in Europe, and the glitteriest holiday coming up, scientists believe their discovery could offer an eco-friendly solution.

With the festive season just around the corner, many use glitter to enhance that christmassy sparkle to their lives – whether it’s in Christmas cards, house decorations or wrapping paper. However, while it may look magical, glitter can be problematic for a number of reasons. It isn’t just difficult to clean up, but it’s also unsustainable and contributes to plastic pollution.

The researchers at Cambridge University have created a sustainable option – a glitter that’s non-toxic, biodegradable and vegan.

Cambridge University’s senior author Professor Silvia Vignolini comments: “Conventional pigments, like your everyday glitter, are not produced sustainably.”

“They get into the soil, the ocean and contribute to an overall level of pollution.”

“We believe this product could revolutionise the cosmetics industry by providing a fully sustainable, biodegradable and vegan pigment and glitter.

“Consumers are starting to realise that while glitters are fun, they also have real environmental harms.”


Beyond Glitter


This sustainable, vegan alternative uses cellulose, found in fruit, vegetables and plants, to replicate how some of the brightest colours found in nature are created. Vignolini claims that the hues of this new glitter also won’t fade, even in a hundred years from now.

These materials can also be made on an industrial scale, using a process similar to that which makes paper using wood pulp.

In addition to its surface-level use as a glitter alternative, this new technology could also be used to replace the plastic, unsustainable glitter particles found in certain cosmetic products.

While the glitter isn’t quite ready for commercial use, researchers are hoping to create a spinout, to work on getting their sustainable product ready for the shelves.