The Glastonbury stance on reducing plastic pollution, including a ban on non-biodegradable glitter, hit the headlines this year, but glitter makers are warning that some unscrupulous firms are misleading or even worse, simply lying about their green credentials, in order to continue to sell to the festival market.
Called greenwashing, some companies are simply rebranding plastic products as biodegradable and eco-friendly.
Stephen Cotton, commercial director at Ronald Britton Ltd, the manufacturers of the world's first plastic free glitter, Bioglitter™ PURE said: “Greenwashing is a frustrating and major issue for us. We know of a number of glitter products and glitter sellers targeting the festivals market who are making misleading and dishonest claims about the eco credentials of their products, when in fact the raw material in some cases is simply plastic glitter.”
Sophie Awdry from Eco Glitter Fun, one of the UK's leading eco-glitter consumer brands added: “The danger of greenwashing is a real worry for us and the environment. Consumers are trying to do the right thing but are conned into believing they are purchasing a product which isn't harmful but in fact is no different than plastic in terms or environmental microplastic pollution.”
According to both companies, the science behind eco-friendly products is complex, leaving it open to abuse. Sophie Awdry from Eco Glitter Fun said: “Being a complex subject there is a good deal of greenwashing occurring. There are a lot of companies claiming their glitter is biodegradable, but biodegradable is just a word and doesn't actually mean anything, unless qualified in terms of how much biodegrades, over how long, and in what conditions. If it takes 100 years to biodegrade, if just one small part of the product biodegrades or it needs composting conditions, then it's not eco-friendly in terms the natural environment.”
Stephen Cotton added: “There are several glitters on the market claiming to be biodegradable because they contain a percentage of material that can possibly compost or has the word 'cellulose' in the name, such as PLA, Cellulose Acetate or Cellophane (1930's cellulose technology). None of these products have the level of performance to actually biodegrade in the natural environment, so in terms of microplastic pollution materials like PLA, Cellulose Acetate and Cellophane are no better than plastic.”
According to Sophie and Stephen, consumers need to look for whether the brand displays independent proof of biodegradability of the finished glitter product in the natural environment, such as fresh water testing by trusted independent companies like OWS, Belgium or even better third party test data verification and certification by companies like TÜV, Austria. As the main supplier of biodegradable glitter worldwide, the inventors, and manufactures of the world's number one eco glitter brand, Bioglitter™, Ronald Britton Ltd has launched their own scheme to ensure consumers know the sparkles they buy are actually environmentally friendly and genuine Bioglitter™. Stephen said: “We've been working with brands who sell glitter, the likes of Eco Glitter Fun and larger brands, as well as big retailers like Primark and Monsoon, Accessorize to set up a scheme, so consumers know that glitter in the product is genuine Bioglitter™ and a true green product. “Most of the companies that now sell genuine 'natural environment biodegradable' glitter or use it in their products, display our Bioglitter™ logo either on the packaging itself or on their website. We also list all companies authorised to use our Bioglitter™ trade mark registered branding to prevent any 'passing off'.
So, if you want to be doubly sure you're not being greenwashed, just quickly check the product packaging or even better check our web page https://www.discoverbioglitter.com/where-can-i-buy-bioglitter/
For more information on greenwashing and the Bioglitter™ brand licencing scheme visit www.discoverbioglitter.com