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This engineer left Mercedes-Benz and started a biodegradable glitter company

This engineer left Mercedes-Benz and started a biodegradable glitter company
[Photo: Alia Wilhelm/Unsplash]

Glitter is the basis of many parties, most figure-skater costumes, and Kesha’s entire makeup case. Glitter is also a sparkly microplastic that pollutes the planet, doesn’t decompose, and gets absolutely everywhere (as in, everywhere), a truly party-pooping fact. As we humans become more aware of plastic pollution and how we have filled our planet with unrecyclable plastics that don’t biodegrade, “fun” plastic items like balloons and glitter are becoming pretty suspect.

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Luckily, when it comes to glitter, science is on the case. A new company called Today Glitter sells an innovative, naturally biodegradable glitter, so the party doesn’t have to stop just because the planet is drowning in plastics. Made mostly of eucalyptus cellulose core, sourced from responsibly managed and PEFC-certified plantations, Today Glitter’s formula biodegrades into the natural environment in as little as 30 days, a claim that is verified by OWS, a third-party biodegradability tester. That’s a lot faster than the 200 years it takes traditional glitter to disappear from the planet.

The Miami-based company was founded by chemical engineer Victor Alvarez, who left a successful career assessing the emissions of volatile organic compounds at Mercedes-Benz after discovering the global problem of microplastics in the environment. Specifically, he heard about the problem with glitter and decided to return its sparkle.

With his background in organic chemistry, polymers, and plastics, he launched his own venture, Blue Sun International, a company developed to creating both eco-friendly and safe cosmetic products. Alvarez partnered with U.K.-based company Ronald Britton, which manufactures and sells two lines of biodegradable glitter in the U.K., and Today Glitter was born.

In addition to selling two different types of glitter for all your party-planning needs, including the world’s first 100% plastic-free glitter, Today Glitter is also on a mission. It wants to educate consumers about the hazards of both traditional glitter and fake biodegradable glitter, after discovering that several companies mixed biodegradable glitter with plastic glitter in order to increase profits.

“This was one of our biggest motivations to start Today Glitter,” Alvarez wrote in an email to Fast Company. “We use a powerful analogy with organic food. ‘How would you feel if you bought an organic certified product and found out that it is 20% organic certified and 80% grown with pesticides?’ This is exactly what is happening in the glitter industry now.”

While glitter isn’t the only microplastic in the world, it is both the most useless and the most fun. Now we can all go back to sending each other glitter bombs and getting ready for Coachella without worrying about the planet.

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