Childcare center bans glitter. Parents and fish rejoice.

purple glitter photo
Public Domain Michelle Grew

Whether for parental sanity or oceanic health, this is a powerful step toward a much better world.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say something that might paint me as a party pooper:

I hate glitter. I mean, I really, really hate glitter.

As the parent of two young kids, I have lost count of the amount of time spent vacuuming or mopping up these tiny flecks of plastic, and then coming back to still find I missed a spot. Or the times I've turned up to a business meeting, only to discover I somehow got some of the kids' glitter in my beard. And don't even get me started on the unfortunate incident when a kiddo managed to somehow get their glitter stash directly mixed in with poop, and spread it to spots where poop has no place being...

So, confirmation bias being what it is, you can imagine my delight to hear over at our sister site that glitter is really, really bad for our oceans. Made from plastic and aluminum bonded with polyethylene terephtalate (PET), this stuff is being used way beyond kids' craft activities (as if that wasn't bad enough!) and is now being incorporated into nail polishes, make up and more. And much like the microbeads we've been sticking in our shampoos and other cleaning products, glitter is now making its way into our water ways and eventually out into the ocean, where fish can mistake it for food.

Initially, having nodded along vigorously to several recent anti-glitter headlines in publications around the world, I began to feel skeptical about what difference it would make. After all, humans—and especially kids—like shiny stuff, and it's hard to grasp that such a tiny, seemingly trivial product could have such far reaching damage. I'm not sure I hold out all that much hope of individual glitter lovers taking a stand and ditching their habit.

Institutions, however, may be another matter. Business Green reports that Tops Day Nurseries—a chain of UK childcare centers with 19 locations across the south of England—has announced that it is fading out glitter, having already ditched plastic straws, balloons and aprons. (I'm sure their cleaning staff are jumping for joy.) The chain has also installed solar panels and implemented food waste collection too.

Of course, the fight against glitter may have another ally -- curmudgeonly parents like myself. Given the sheer pain in the proverbial behind that glitter is in a household (a friend once compared to a particularly unpleasant contagious disease), I would imagine that there are a fair few parents out there who are all too willing to take a stand and banish this stuff from our lives.

For once, we can even feel good about depriving our kids.

Childcare center bans glitter. Parents and fish rejoice.
Whether for parental sanity or oceanic health, this is a powerful step toward a much better world.

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