In the headlines recently, Morrison’s, John Lewis and Waitrose have all issued statements claiming that they will be removing glitter from their Christmas ranges this year. This includes cards, stickers, wrapping paper and crackers.
Glitter is a micro-plastic that gets everywhere, especially in our environment and it takes hundreds of years to degrade. It pollutes our oceans and is ingested by sea life and other animals. As well as this, smaller pieces of glitter can hang in the air as invisible atmospheric pollutants. It has been known to travel extreme distances in this way and his even been found in the remote wilderness!
Further to the above, we need to get rid of glitter. So, the fact that these large companies are vouching to remove it from their own-brand ranges sounds like a good step doesn’t it? Well, let us evaluate, shall we?
First off, there is the issue of Greenwashing. Greenwashing is a form of marketing in which green PR is deceptively used to persuade the consumer that their brand’s products, aims and policies are environmentally friendly, sustainable, and therefore appeal to those who want to make a change. What Morrison’s, John Lewis and Waitrose are claiming could be seen as Greenwashing, since they are choosing this minuscule change to create the image that they are environmentally conscious when in fact, they are continuing the same as before in the rest of the products they sell.
Which brings me on to my next point. Glitter in itself, whilst it still has a detrimental impact on our environment amongst the overall issue of man-made pollution, is not enough of a step to start to solve the problem. Significantly larger plastic packaging which is used for the majority of the products these brands sell contributes to the problem on a much larger scale. Therefore, this isn’t enough to begin to solve the problem. They have created a big ‘song and dance’ about this significant step they are taking to give the illusion that they are ethical companies when in fact, they have not changed at all.
Until these larger brands take responsibility for their contributions to the ecological issue we are suffering and understand how serious it is that action is needed now, they will not change. Therefore until they do this, it is best to err on the side of caution.
If you want to make a change for the planet this Christmas, steer away from the big supermarkets and chain brands and purchase from independent companies who put the planet first. This way, you know exactly where your money is going and how the products are made. Etsy, Eco Vibe, Protect the Planet, and local independent brands are great places to look for ethical, sustainable and planet-friendly Christmas goods.
On the issue of glitter itself, we don’t need this change to come in bit by bit from different brands. We need the government to call for a complete ban on glitter. As it is damaging and if every shop and business were not able to use it, it would have a much more positive impact on our environment than 3 shops making the change.
To conclude; the change that Morrison’s, Waitrose and John Lewis have made is a step in the right direction, however, it is not enough. We need the issue of glitter and other major plastic pollutants to be made a priority for discussion in parliament and legal bans made by the government. Please consider our environment when you are purchasing your festive goods and make a positive change for yourself this Christmas.