Glittery Christmas

by Patricia Collins

… and still they come in.  Despite all the awareness-raising campaigns of the past year about the effects of micro plastics on the environment, I’m still receiving glittery cards, even from people I thought were ‘greenish’.

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Mostly we’ve been glitter-free this year Chez Snail… one or two of you might recognise a card here!

My favourite, i.e. most disappointing, example is a pretty Christmas tree card sold to raise money for a very worthy medical charity that boasts its environmentally friendly credentials on the back – ‘made from FSC sustainable resources, recycled materials and using  vegetable printing inks’.  But it’s sprinkled with glitter of which there is no mention. From opening the pretty card, that glitter is now on my clothes and my carpet so it will go with the clothes to the washing machine and with the hoover dust to the compost and so to the sea and soil.  This card also reminds and requests me to recycle it. How am I to do this safely?

Well rather than simply carp, I’ve decided to take inspiration from our Snail and take action; so every time I receive a glitter card I email a request to the producer for further information. I ask whether they are using ‘safe’ glitter. If they are request them to flag this up on their environmental credentials. If they are not, I ask them to change. And then add the big question how do they suggest I recycle their product. I add a link to a good, basic article on micro plastics: here.

I’m still puzzling over whether to send copies of the correspondence to my ‘greenish’ friends – any thoughts?

So far no replies from the manufacturers but watch this space.

-oOo-

Many thanks to Patricia for writing this post on a subject that I hadn’t thought much about, but certainly is worth considering.

If you would like to write a guest post on a subject that fits with the sort of thing that appears on The Snail of Happiness blog, do get in touch… I’m not making any promises, but it would be interesting to feature some things that you have been thinking about as well as my random musings.

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18 Comments

  1. Ann Pole

     /  December 23, 2018

    I share your concerns. We received a similar one, sold in aid of comic relief. The question remains – what to do with it after Christmas.
    1. Use it to make tags (which only delays the problem),
    2. give it to one of the card collecting charities (ditto the above)
    3. Feed it to Henley (the wood burner).
    Any thoughts welcome.

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    • Patricia Collins

       /  December 23, 2018

      Ah, yes. We have a Henley who’d be happy to assist. Truthfully, I think I should feed him right away before more glitter drops to the floor.

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      • Ann Pole

         /  January 3, 2019

        Just to update you on the eating habits of Henley. I sorted through all my table arrangement supplies the other day and found rather a lot of them also had glitter on. Many were cones. Note the word ‘were’… They made good firelighters!

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    • I really don’t know, although perhaps burning is the best option.

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  2. I can’t offer a post hoc solution, but my policy of not sending any physical cards at all has resulted in an ever-decreasing number of cards received. We’ve received the grand total of two this year, one glittery and one non-glittery. The e-card I make and send each year doesn’t spark reciprocation-anxiety like a ‘proper’ card, and it makes me feel that I’m helping to reduce waste in addition to fulfilling my social obligations 🙂

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  3. OH, the GLITTER! I clean our church and glitter drives me insane! It gets tracked everywhere and seems to linger on and on! It took about a year of weekly vacuuming to eventually get the glitter mostly off of one of the class room floors. Yesterday, when I cleaned, OMG!!! It was like they had a glitter fight! Another year or insanity!

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  4. That is supposed say “another year OF insanity!

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  5. Patricia Collins

     /  December 24, 2018

    Could you be brave and set a new year resolution in your Parish magazine for a glitter free church in 2019? There has been so much public awareness of micro plastics this year- what many are calling The Blue Planet effect, I feel it is simply that people don’t realise what glitter is made of. The are safe non micro plastic alternatives for those who cannot do without sparkles.

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  6. A colleague at work was selling small bags of oats mixed with glitter as ‘reindeer food’ to sprinkle on the lawn to feed the beasts and attract them with the sparkle. It was for a worthy charity, but the bag was nylon and leaked and some of us worried about the above discussed environmental impact. It really is little things. Hope your friend gets some answers.

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  7. The Management came home yesterday having bought ‘bargain’ Christmas cards – all from a charity, and almost all well glittered. He was very proud of his thrift so I couldn’t really say anything despite the little heart sink. Maybe some of your friends are in similar circumstances?
    If we all do all we can it has to have some improving effect. Well done contacting the source.

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    • Patricia Collins

       /  December 28, 2018

      Yes, Kim. I’m sure a lot of my friends put a great deal of thought into their purchases and made careful choices about which charity to support. It is sad that the charities have not realised what they are commissioning on their cards. Two years ago John Lewis pledged to remove glitter across their stores by 2020. Not just cards but make up, decorations, clothing… so the information has been there, it just seems that some charities haven’t taken note. We really have to think what constitutes a ‘bargain’ these days, don’t we? That tempts me to talk about ‘cheap’ clothes, but I’ll leave that for another post!

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  8. So due to health issues I am only just catching up on reading this blog, may take a while! 🙂 I’m afraid I’m going to upset most of you, I believe in sending letters, cards, especially at holiday times, as for me, it is the easiest way to tell, someone that they are not alone and I have not forgotten them. Due to my health issues I don’t pick up the phone, and I rarely visit people, but I am very aware that one of the biggest killers of people is loneliness, and it is my little way of saying, hello, you’re not forgotten. I also write letters, and other things, just because, when i remember or think of someone. with regards to Christmas cards, where possible they are bought with consideration for the environment and its effects, as making is not always an option available to me, although this year apart from one or two cards, all the cards sent were from my attack purchased, prior to my understanding and knowledge of cause and effect. I felt it was surely more sensible to use up old cards, than for them to be wasted sitting in boxes with my Christmas decoration. Now due to my health issues I started writing them in November and eventually had them ready to post in December, I don’t expect a return card, I just want people I can’t always keep in contact with to know they are thought of, and I’m sorry if you think that a crime. I think it essential that we don’t keep telling people they are doing wrong without possing solutions. So card companies need to be shown better solutions. Emails are too disposable. a card or letter you can keep and treasure. Receiving an old fashioned letter in the post always puts a smile on a persons face. I guess it’s about finding ways to do this sensibly. 🙂 PS i don’t think any of the old cards from my attic have glitter

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    • I totally agree both abut the value of contact and using up existing resources. Whilst I gave up Christmas cards years ago, I try these days to write letters instead, spread through the year… sadly it’s a dying art and about 50% of the time I don’t get a reply, but still I carry on. Last year, in my state of mental fuzz I wrote very few letters, but I have made a start this year and a couple went in the post just yesterday, along with an ‘I saw this and thought of you’ type of card.

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  1. Patricia Collins | The Snail of Happiness

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