Today’s Solutions: January 25, 2022

As sparkly and magical as it is, glitter is actually a form of microplastic, and even products that claim to contain biodegradable glitter rarely actually are. This is a difficult issue to tackle because countries would need to reach an international consensus about regulating it, but fortunately, the end of harmful glitter may be in sight with a new, fully-biodegradable glitter from researchers at the University of Cambridge. 

To come up with the new glitter, the scientists used plant-based cellulose nanocrystals. These naturally form “photonic films,” which when ground up, give the appearance of colorful, shimmery glitter.

What sets this glitter apart from previous sustainable versions is that it can be easily and affordably scaled up to truly replace microplastics in the cosmetic industry. The researchers are optimistic that they could distribute their product widely within just a few years.

Source study: Nature MaterialsLarge-scale fabrication of structurally colored cellulose nanocrystal films and effect pigments

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