Oxfordshire company Windles develops biodegradable glitter solution

Written by: Rhys Handley | Published:
Windles produces greeting cards and luxury packaging
There is no such thing as biodegradable glitter. The government should really have included ...

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Luxury printing company Windles' first test sessions on a biodegradable glitter for its products have been described as "very successful", continuing its push to be more environmentally friendly.

The Oxfordshire-based group, prominently producing greeting cards and luxury packaging, is investing in a new production process for its glitter so that it leaves less of an impact on the environment.

Glitter is made out of microscopic pieces of aluminium combined with polyester, which gives it a metallic shine.

By replacing the polyester with cellulose, Windles is hoping to produce a new version of glitter which can biodegrade in compose “within days” of disposal.

Marketing manager Michelle Mills said: “This is obviously a work in progress, one thing we are focused on is maintaining shine. The world would be a sad place if glitter lost its sparkle.

“Environmental concerns are at the front of a lot of people’s minds because of programmes such as Blue Planet II on the BBC. People in the industry look to us as a champion for these kinds of causes, so we see it as our responsibility to take the lead.

“Obviously there will be barriers, as there are with everything, because this will inevitably be more expensive than normal glitter. But I think there is a mood change now and that 2018 will be a pioneering year across the board for the world to sort itself out.”

Microplastics and microbeads, such as glitter, were highlighted as a cause for concern in November last year, when it was reported that the world’s oceans have been impacted by up to 51 trillion fragments of the material in total.

A study by Professor Richard Thompson showed that plastic was found in a third of UK-caught fish.

Windles’ green work extends to its 4,200sqm premises, opened in January 2016, which runs its power of 35% daylight and monitors usage of electrical material. The firm has nearly 100 staff working at its Thame, Oxfordshire home.

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There is no such thing as biodegradable glitter. The government should really have included cosmetic art glitters in with their microbead ban but did not and that was an oversight.
"Fully biodegradable glitter" and the finished coloured bio-glitter product has not been tested for biodegradability. Only the cellulose substrate has been tested and labelled "bio-glitter". Bio Glitter is purely a trade name. None of the whole, coloured, finished product at all, has ever been tested for toxicity to aquatic life. Manufacturers are simply assuming it's ok because the colourings have been given a "toy safe" rating.

The only manufacturer in the UK is Ronald Britton. If you look at their wording on their website it never actually says "finished product" next to "biodegradable". All the tests made on biodegradability are on the film used as a base only, not on any of the finished products. Therefore no claims about potential reduced toxicity can be made.

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