Why Sequins Are Bad for the Environment
December 29, 2019 • 3 min read
Glittery, sparkly and fun, sequins take any outfit from blah to wow, a favourite especially at this time of the year, where NYE parties call for anything and everything shimmering and bright. There is a dark side though to this shiny wardrobe embellishment, despite their festive gleam. We’re here to share with you the not so dazzling side of things, and why sequins are bad for the environment.
To begin, in case you weren’t aware, sequins are nothing more than tiny pieces of plastic. Yep – we don’t often think about it, but sequins are just another everyday material made from the stuff that’s destroying our earth and ecosystems. Similar to the issues around microbeads found in skincare products, sequins pose the same threat to the environment. Microbeads are beginning to be banned in many countries around the world, but sequins have yet to follow. Made from PVC, a flexible and durable plastic, sequins contain toxic additives (phthalates) that are disruptive to our health and hormones. We know to avoid them in skincare, so why aren’t we more concerned when this stuff touches our skin or makes its way into our food supply?
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We’ve all worn a pretty sequins dress only to find tiny pieces of it everywhere in our homes, cars, and purses. The stuff falls off even with the slightest breath, so you can only imagine the harm it does to the earth when we’re traipsing around town in our glittery gear. Putting it in the washing machine is even worse, as tons of these little guys end up in our waterways (much like plastic microfibres). Because they are so small, it is hard for them to be caught by filtration and sewage systems, meaning they likely end up in our oceans. Marine life, like us, is attracted to anything shiny (insert Dori reference here) and might gobble up pieces of your birthday dress, thinking it looks like fish scales or another organism floating by.
This doesn’t just affect marine life and stay there. As part of the food chain, we’re affected by this as well. Whether you eat fish or drink water, in some way, we’re also ingesting bits of plastic. It is widely known how detrimental the effects of plastic are on our bodies, and the plastic contamination we consume definitely disrupts our hormones and can cause some serious health concerns.
Astounding research from Oxfam shows that women in the UK buy 33 million new sequins items during the holidays, and 1.7 million sequinned items are trashed after the season! These items will most likely never biodegrade, going from loved to discarded after just a night or two.
This year, try to embellish your outfit with something that doesn’t destroy the planet. You can opt for luxurious fabrics like velvet or silk, accessorize with sparkly jewels, or go for a dramatic eye to make your outfit pop. The few hours that you wear sequins for is definitely not worth the havoc it causes. Think outside the box and make it your mission to avoid sequins moving forward!
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