Unicorns Are Dangerous: Eco-Unfriendly Glitter is Killing Our Oceans

Unicorns are evil: Why eco-unfriendly glitter is killing our oceans

Unicorns are dangerous.

Now I know that they may be the “animal” of the decade, and that they’re cute and “so fluffy I’m gonna die!“, but I was thinking about unicorns as I put my recycling out this morning (Friday is recycling collection day).

Bear with me on this.

I don’t know what it’s like in your area, and depending on where you live I don’t know if you get a recycling collection truck come round – but we do. So every other Friday morning everyone puts out their rubbish and recycling. And this is what breaks my heart and makes me mad in equal measures:

The amount of rubbish that’s left out in my street equals about five times the amount of recycling that’s left out. Our household’s is the other way round… our rubbish bag is very small and we recycle everything that can possibly be recycled.

Anyway, this morning I was stunned at how many black sacks of rubbish there were and we’re not even anywhere near Christmas yet. At Christmas you can barely move for rubbish everywhere, and what you see a huge amount of is packaging from toys, beer and wine bottles, and huge black sacks full to the brim with what’s probably wrapping paper, ribbons and gift tags.


Okay so don’t get me wrong, I’m no bah-humbug by any stretch of the imagination – I love Christmas as much as an average eight year old – but unnecessary landfill is one of my pet peeves in life. On Christmas Day I go through all the wrapping paper and pick off all the ribbons and tape and save as much as I can to be recycled or reused… it drives my family nuts.

But landfill is evil. And unicorns are partly to blame.

Why glitter is killing our seas

So to explain why unicorns are dangerous (poor unicorns! I’m giving them such a bad rap here): It was after I read a particular article about glitter that I really stopped and thought about how much damage we’re doing to the environment with all the sparkly stuff that Christmas brings and the trend for glitter in beauty products.

New Look Pink Unicorn Dust Hair Glitter

Last year I was told not to put sparkly or metallic wrapping paper into the recycling because it can’t be recycled. I’m guilty of buying that. I’m also guilty of buying (and making, which I did before blogging took over my life) Christmas cards with a ton of glitter on them. And this is what I read: glitter is in such abundant use in manufacturing at the moment with our love of unicorns, mermaids and everything sparkly that it’s getting into the water system when we wash it off our hands and faces and throw glittery things away.


RELATED  Ad | My All-Time Favourite Live TV Memories

The glitter isn’t biodegradable – it eventually ends up in our seas and is basically killing sea life. Plastic is horrific enough; we know about giant garbage patches and that there’s one twice the size of Texas off the coast of California, but glitter is practically microscopic. How on earth do we stop it getting into the ecosystem?

There are essentially two things we can do: Stop buying throwaway glitter products (or buy biodegradable glitter – it’s ethical, it’s eco-friendly, it’s cruelty-free) and non-biodegradable (beauty) products full stop. And stop buying Christmas cards with glitter on them and wrapping paper with glitter on them and that ribbon you curl with scissors (can you IMAGINE how many seabirds and other animals get that caught around their necks or swallow it?).

Let’s stop buying it all. Let’s go for eco-friendly wrapping options. Let’s buy cards that are 100% recyclable – no fancy stick on bits. Let’s stop buying plastic bows. But let’s still buy unicorn shizzle, but avoid the glittery unicorn shizzle.

Let’s stop leaving out more black sacks than recycling on the first bin day after Christmas and keep the seas happy… who’s with me?


P.S. The unicorns in the main photo are from Kaleidoscope and the hair glitter is from New Look – I’m only linking them as credits for the photos, of course I’d rather you didn’t buy them…!

Not Dressed As Lamb - CLICK HERE to receive posts by email


So all that’s left to say is – I’ve shared my thoughts/stories/tuppence-worth this week, now it’s time to share yours… LET’S GET THIS [LINK UP] PARTY STARTED!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Thank you for joining the #SaturdayShareLinkUp! Designed to allow you to share anything you like on ANY topic, it goes live every Friday at around 8pm UK time and will stay open for a week. You can share blog posts or Instagram posts, old posts or new posts, and link up as many as you like.


PLEASE be kind and leave a link somewhere on your post, and share your post using the hashtag #SaturdayShareLinkUp – if you tweet your link with the hashtag and tag me in @notlamb I’ll even retweet it to my followers for you 🙂

A hot tip for linking up:

Use clear, bright images (crop in close if necessary) and add a relevant, descriptive title (you’ve got 75 characters to use). These sorts of thumbnails and text always get the most clicks, so don’t waste the opportunity to increase traffic and engagement on your best work!

An InLinkz Link-up





Linking up to: Brilliant Blog Posts, Fake It Until You Make It


  1. 13 March 2018 / 10:58 pm

    I had no idea that glitter affects both the environment. I usually use zeal for gifts, and with a bit of tape to make more handmade things. Sharing with my friends about this.

  2. 18 November 2017 / 9:11 pm

    Very eye opening post Catherine. You don't think about what happens after Christmas is over and we toss the Christmas cards into the bin. I won't be buying any glitter any time soon x

  3. 15 November 2017 / 9:22 pm

    Thank you for your post and this information…but it makes me sooo sad in various ways. I LOVE glitter, but now I know I must stop buying it or items that have it on there.

    Yes, sooo much trash and then the “ trash” that could be recycled or the recycled items that should be trash! Sigh. I am the same and grab all the gift paper, boxes, ribbons, bags for reusing or recycling. I also bring home Keurig pods to at least compost the coffee in them. (Yes, I am THAT person) I know balloons are bad but now no glitter?? This one is tough but it makes sense. Thanks for spreading the word!

    What about online ordering and all of that packaging? Would love a post on that…or maybe you already have one…I’ll have to take a look!

  4. 14 November 2017 / 1:17 pm

    I too recycle everything I possibly can, and I'm also very concerned about environmental issues, but I must admit I hadn't considered the problems associated with glitter and sparklies before now! Thanks for drawing our attention to this, and I pledge to be a glitter-free zone this Christmas, and from now on.

  5. 13 November 2017 / 7:46 am

    I'm a wrapping paper recycler too but I had no idea about the glitter – thank you for raising this issue.x

  6. 12 November 2017 / 2:56 pm

    Ugh. First of all, I can't seem to correct my old name. The new name is Catherine Lartigue. I like my French name better. OK. Now that the deeply shallow me has gotten that cleared up, I'm so glad that you posted this!

    Secondly, I'm that other Catherine who does the same as you when it comes to saving old ribbon, wrapping paper, etc. I've just done a blog post and a youtube video on starting the Holiday decorations and trust me, it's done on the cheap and recycled!

    Thanks for the information regarding glitter. I had no idea. THen again, I'm not a glitter person. I can't stand glitter for the mess it makes in the house–vacuuming that $hit up drives me nuts. I believe the last time glitter was in the house was when the children were young and the mess it made was the first and last time.

  7. 12 November 2017 / 7:49 am

    Well said Catherine. I make all my own clothes because the fashion industry generates huge amounts of waste. Your blog and others give me lots of ideas. Thank you.

  8. 12 November 2017 / 4:53 am

    Haven't used glitter for anything in years. Thanks for telling me why.

    Thanks for hosting and I hope that you have a wonderful week.

  9. 12 November 2017 / 4:36 am

    I have to agree that we all make too much trash. Although I wasn't aware that glitter was so damaging, I never buy anything with glitter because of the messy factor. I almost hate it when someone give me a gift with that glittery tissue paper…UGH!

  10. 11 November 2017 / 2:52 pm

    Catherine, I did not know this about glitter, so I am glad that you have educated me. Although, I have never been one to buy anything glittery anyway because quite frankly I hate the stuff! It gets everywhere. It sticks to everything. And it haunts you for months after as you find the sparkly bits in the strangest places. I have always hated glitter and you have given me reason to hate it even more. But I do LOVE unicorns! The unglittery kind, of course. And my recycle bins take up way more space curbside than my one lonely trash can! For the holidays, I prefer gift bags and then I keep them all and reuse them over and over again until they fall apart! My sister is still using gift bags from 2005 or earlier as evidenced by the layer of gift tags that have my mother's name on them (she passed away in 2006)! Gotta love it! So I suppose I will pat myself on the back for a job well done! Keep spreading awareness and keep recycling!


  11. 11 November 2017 / 9:15 am

    It s fantastic that we are more aware and to write posts like these is very important. Thank you!

  12. 11 November 2017 / 8:22 am

    Not just unicorns and glitter but also cleansers and exfoliators with micro beads – so many brands still have them, and I avoid like the plague.

  13. 11 November 2017 / 6:26 am

    I had no idea about glitter being biodegradable. I'm so pleased you've talked about it and I shall be avoiding it this year! It's so sad what is happening to our seas x

  14. 10 November 2017 / 11:34 pm

    Excellent post Catherine, well said!! I hadn't stopped to think about glitter -not that it passes through my front door with an 8 year old boy anyway – but I will be extremely vigilant about it from now on.

  15. 10 November 2017 / 11:24 pm

    Thank you. I just burst into tears! I've been doing this for decades so it's a relief to feel some camaraderie at last. Next stop laundry detergent babe xx

  16. 10 November 2017 / 11:23 pm

    Thank you. I just burst into tears! I've been doing this for decades so it's a relief to feel some camaraderie at last. Next stop laundry detergent babe xx

  17. 10 November 2017 / 11:22 pm

    I've seen this info about glitter; I'm thrilled that that those ladies invented biodegradable glitter. First microbeads, and now this. I'm doing the whole homespun thing this year for wrapping… I think brown craft paper and beautiful ribbon looks better than all the garish stuff you usually see anyway. I love that you cover topics like this on your blog! xx

    • 11 November 2017 / 8:32 am

      Yes microbeads too! Let's get rid of those while we're at it.

  18. 10 November 2017 / 10:47 pm

    I couldn't agree more Catherine!
    I feel my comment on this (complex) issue could be longer than your post so I'll (try) to keep it short and sweet.
    I WANT to be super eco friendly, ethical, organic, and all of the 'good' things that I know are good for the planet (I studied environmental science at uni and remember being in despair for most of my teenage/early 20's life) .
    Modern life is completely killing our planet… these images of plastics in the ocean, microbeads in face scrubs and glitter break my heart.
    BUT We are also partially responsible for fueling the frivolous shizzle by blogging about fashion etc.
    In an ideal world we would all wear only what we needed, and it would be handmade and biodegradable.
    Back in the real world…. I do what I can.
    Recycling is pretty good here (our council is one of the good ones).
    More gets recycled than landfilled and avoid polystyrene, excess packaging, unnecessary plastic crap.
    BUT sometimes we can't escape.
    We can only do our best.
    Right…. I need to stop before this becomes a thesis! LOL
    Those poor unicorns.
    If only they knew what utter shite was produced in their name, they would be horrified!
    Fake Fabulous | Style and fun with fashion, over 40

DISCLOSURE: Items marked* are PR products (I never accept anything I wouldn’t choose for myself) and my opinions are 100% honest. I also use affiliate links where I may earn commission if you click through and buy, at no cost to you.