By now you have probably heard that a group of nurseries in England with over 2,500 children has banned glitter in their services.
According to the guardian:
A group of nurseries in southern England has banned the use of glitter among its 2,500 children to reduce the amount of microplastics entering the seas. Harriet Pacey, the business development director at Tops Day Nurseries, a 19-strong chain, said: “We want to do something we have control over. Glitter is absolutely a microplastic and has the same potential to cause harm as any other microplastic.
Should preschools ban glitter?
Some practitioners are in support of the ban and urging their services to follow suit. They are arguing that it is better for the environment and of course for the safety of young children. Glitter has been known to get in eyes, noses and even cause allergic reactions.
“Glitter is pretty much just tiny reflective pieces of plastic, or micro plastics. That’s what gives it its distinctive shimmer. When washed off, these little bits of plastic end up in the water where they never break down. And that’s really bad news for aquatic life” says the Metro (2017).
Another group argues that this is safety gone too far! Safety standards and regulations have made it impossible for practitioners to even think of learning opportunities which facilitate risky play never mind actually providing risky play opportunities for children and now glitter? This group say that this is too much, should we wrap all our children up in plastic, wait that would be harmful to the environment, maybe cotton wool? This group also argues that there are ways around the notion of the glitter bomb. For instance, mixing glitter with PVA glue or using “glitter glue” ensures that the glitter itself stays put!
However, a standpoint that cannot be argued with is that glitter is harmful to the environment and according to 1millionwomen, “8 million tonnes of the stuff ending up in the ocean every day — the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic every minute”.
Alternatives to Glitter
There are alternatives to glitter, so all is not lost J EcoStardust is a company which sells Biodegradable Eco-Glitter for example which is not harmful to the environment. MGMA is another company which sells biodegradable glitter for around €3.20c although this could get expensive for preschools who buy huge amounts of glitter.
What do you think? Are we being too cautious or does the argument have good basis? Will you be following the trend of banning glitter in your preschool?
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