Nursery group bans children using glitter in Christmas crafts
Children are to be banned from using glitter at a group of nurseries due to concerns about the damage it does to the environment.
The substance, loved by youngsters for making Christmas cards and baubles, is being banished at Tops Day Nurseries - a chain of 19 nurseries across the south of England.
Managing director Cheryl Hadland told the Press Association she made the decision after realising glitter is a microplastic which can harm the environment.
She said: "You can see when the children are taking their bits of craft home and there's glitter on the cardboard, it blows off and into the air and on to the road, and it's only a tiny little bit, but we've got 3,000 children and they're all doing Christmas craft at the moment, so we've got glitter everywhere.
"There are 22,000 nurseries in the country, so if we're all getting through kilos and kilos of glitter, we're doing terrible damage, and these children, the world is for them.
"So here we are wrecking the place for them, and I didn't even know. I've been running the nurseries for 27 years and I had no idea that we were doing all that damage. You can't really recycle it because it's so small, you can't separate it from anything."
Ms Hadland, from Bournemouth, added: "I love glitter, it's lovely, shiny, twinkly stuff, so it is kind of sad, but when we're wrecking the environment we really can't be doing it. So we're just going to have to start getting our heads round using stuff that's more sustainable."
She said the decision has only just been made so parents may not be aware of it, but she insisted they are likely to be supportive.
"We did a survey a few months ago and 86% of our parents want us to be eco-sustainable. I think a lot of our parents really want us to do this."
Many parents who use her nurseries are millennials, she said, who are likely to want a sustainable education for their child.
Sue Kinsey, from the Marine Conservation Society, praised the "proactive approach".
"The majority of microplastics that get into the sea come from personal care products, household cleaners, tyre wear and other sources," she said.
"While glitter is only a small part of the microplastic load getting into watercourses and the sea, steps like these will all add up to something greater.
"This is a very proactive approach, amongst lots of things that the nursery is doing to help the environment, like using cloth aprons and not releasing balloons outdoors, and it is definitely possible to create a Christmas card to take home without using glitter!"
Sue Learner, editor of daynurseries.co.uk, said: "We can only hope that by Cheryl Hadland raising awareness of the damage glitter can cause, other nursery owners and managers may be prompted to think about what decorative materials are being given to children and the potential impact it has on the environment."