Glitter has got to go. Glitter mascara, eyeshadow and makeup are another cause of plastic pollution.

The sparkle is microplastic. Small plastic fragments that are less than five millimeters long are what we call “microplastics.” And glitter is included. When you wash the glitter off your face and body it goes down the drain. Because of our current wastewater treatment, they don’t get caught and filtered out and then they end up in the oceans, waterways.

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And oceans are less excited about glitter than your average 13 year old. Because glitter doesn’t biodegrade and animals can eat it. Microplastics have been found in our tea, in marine animals and in our food. In short, it’s dangerous.

The government banned microbeads in 2015 to keep them out of our water supply. But that ban only applied to face and body exfoliants. Since glitter is for makeup and sparkle, not categorized as an exfoliant, it’s still legal to put it into makeup.

Susan Stevens argues it shouldn’t be there. Steven is the founder of sustainable online shopping destination Made with Respect. Talking about glitter in makeup, she explains the issue, “Glitter will then end up in landfills, where it leaches toxic chemicals into the soil and water for thousands of years. Soil contamination can have a number of harmful effects on ecosystems and humans, and if toxic chemicals leach into soil and groundwater, it may not only affect plant life, but may also affect our own health by passing into our food chain.”

So next time you see glitter in makeup, choose a more sustainable option. Read more about makeup and learn to make your own mascara.

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