So, like me, you might’ve been somewhat confused this morning when the news said that Morrisons and Waitrose have decided to remove glitter from all of their Christmas gifts, cards, wrapping paper, and other items. You might’ve thought at first that it was a little bit much, surely?
Well, glitter isn’t all it’s cracked up to be; aside from it being a pain in the neck to clean up, it’s also an ecological disaster. Glitter is basically just premade microplastics. When you hoover that last little bit of glitter up in mid-March, from that one present you got wrapped in glittery paper months ago, you empty the hoover into the general waste bin, and from there it starts its journey into the big wide world. Once that bit of glitter breaks down, even just a little bit, the damned stuff can travel for miles and into the environment, where it gets stuck in the stomachs of animals, and makes its way up the food chain – ultimately to us. Microplastics in the ocean and the environment are toxic to life and are having a very tangible impact.
The move comes as part of a shift more generally in the industry, away from single-use plastics of all kinds: from the plastic packaging that’s seemingly designed to frustrate, to the cheap plastic rubbish that comes in Christmas Crackers. While it may seem a little absurd that glitter is being removed from Christmas by Morrison’s and Waitrose, ultimately, it’s a small thing, but it’s a step in the right direction, towards a more sustainable economy. Enjoying Christmas doesn’t have to cost us the earth (literally), and this has to be the start of a conversation about the fundamental and existential threat posed by the impact we’ve had on our environment over the years.
Removing glitter from Christmas tat alone won’t save our oceans, and it probably isn’t the be-all and end-all. However, we’ve got to look at this, one of the most visible examples of how plastic has to be ditched across the economy and throughout the year. I just hope that it’s a visible example of what we’ve got to do to stop the ecological disaster hurtling towards us at breakneck speed. We’ve already seen the impacts of the old normal, so now we’ve got to use this new normal in the time of COVID to better ourselves, and to make this new normal less damaging for the environment, and more COVID safe.
Will you make the decision to buy glitter-free this Christmas?
By Peter Kates, 12AVZ
Originally published on IGS Student News website on 16th October 2020 here.