The World Daily
Scientists create world’s first vegan glitter

Photo by Jack Van Hel on Unsplash 


By Patryk Krych | The World Daily | NOVEMBER 12th 2021


On an annual basis, glitter is used in parties, celebrations, makeup and various arts, often becoming responsible for at least 5,500 tons of produced microplastics in Europe alone that end up polluting the world’s oceans and wildlife. Scientists may have solved the issue, however, with a new vegan glitter.

Researchers from Cambridge University found the solution to the unsustainable and highly polluting decoration with a non-toxic, vegan and biodegradable alternative that’s entirely sustainable. With the same shine and quality of regular glitter, it may at one point to replace it entirely.

“Conventional pigments, like your everyday glitter, are not produced sustainably,” said Professor Silvia Vignolini, from Cambridge University's Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry, and a member of the team behind the alternative solution. “They get into the soil, the ocean and contribute to an overall level of pollution.”

She added that this new type of glitter has all the same shine of the original type, but that its hues of colour won’t fade after even a century has passed. The vegan aspect to this new alternative comes mainly from their base material, having been produced from cellulose found in the cell walls of plants, fruits and vegetables.

Aside from introducing a potential change towards the celebrations and party industry, this discovery could also greatly benefit environmentalism in the cosmetics industry – which often uses the same plastic glitter particles and pigments that are commonly used in the environmentally harmful microplastics.

“We believe this product could revolutionise the cosmetics industry by providing a fully sustainable, biodegradable and vegan pigment and glitter,” said Prof Vignolini. “Consumers are starting to realise that while glitters are fun, they also have real environmental harms.”

Glitter is made up of tiny plastics that are known not to break down – therefore once they’re out in the environment, they stay in the environment. More and more of these microplastics have been found in the guts of marine and oceanic life, as well as other wildlife. In some recent studies, plastic nanoparticles have even been found in the unborn foetuses of pregnant rats. 


The research was partially funded by the European Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and published in the journal ‘Nature Materials.’

Professor Vignolini assures the vegan glitter will have all the fun and application of the original type, only it will be far safer for both people and the wildlife it’s begun to hurt on an increasing scale. She added: “It will be just as annoying – but it won’t harm the planet and is safe for your little ones.”

Though there’s more process and development necessary, this is the first research into glitter of its kind that could potentially be utilised on an industrial scale. The hopes are to make the new pigments commercially available over the next few years through a spin-out company, potentially revolutionising the cosmetics industry in the process. 


By Patryk Krych | © The World Daily 2021 

Source: Sky News, Metro, ITV