Glitter. From school projects and love letters to holiday greeting cards and even makeup, we see it in every color, every size, and every configuration, and added to body lotion, perfumes, and hair products. Before it became the sparkling star to accompany every festive event, where did it come from? And who had the brilliant idea of making it?
And is our usage of it today as “fun” as we think it is?
The history of glitter brings us, astonishingly enough, to the house of American machinist and cattle farmer Henry Ruschmann—not exactly the place you’d expect glitter to be made. According to Guff, a data-driven content company specializing in audiences adept at sharing content on social media platforms, Ruschmann had the idea of making glitter completely by accident.
|Photo Credit: Jade87 via Pixabay|
Meaning, he did not intentionally make glitter so people could shower everything they could with it. Ruschmann managed to create glitter because he wanted to find a way to “compress old garbage in landfills.” With that in mind, it’s important to note now what glitter really is: trash.
It’s made out of “used plastic, bottles, doggy poo bags, junk” and all manner of recycled materials. Since it’s technically pore-clogging, used-junk-nastiness, the Allied forces once thought of “glitter-bombing Germany to thwart their progress” in World War II. They later decided not to push through with it lest the Germans find a way to glitter-bomb them back after potentially copying Ruschmann’s invention, Guff reports.
Needless to say, it would have been a very fancy and glimmering war, and at a cost to our environment.
|Photo Credit: Jasmin Sessler via Pixabay|
That’s right; as much as we use glitter in our daily lives, not a lot of us are actually aware of its very detrimental effect to an environment that’s already being stretched too thin.
This is not to burst anyone’s bubble, but the truth is that glitter has an environmental impact not many people realize. Essentially, glitter is made up of tiny pieces of plastic which, obviously, doesn’t do well for the environment. According to the British news outlet The Guardian, a large amount of glitter is “made from etched aluminum bonded to polyethylene terephthalate (PET),” a kind of “microplastic, which can find its way into oceans and the creatures that call them home.”