NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - As much fun as carnival can be people are starting to recognize a lot of the staples aren’t great for the environment. The good news is there always seems to be an alternative if you know where to look.
Like many of us Samantha Bongiovanni likes a little sparkle.
She said, “I was always like the person with all the glitter in my friend group.”
When she learned how damaging most plastic glitter is to the environment it was a challenge.
Bongiovanni found out, “It’s a microplastic so once it reaches our oceans you can never get it back out. It’s so small and it breaks down even smaller. Fish eat it and then you eat it because you eat that fish. It’s just not going to go anywhere.”
There are ecofriendly alternatives so she made the switch for herself.
Bongiovanni said, “My glitter is made from eucalyptus tree cellulose film. That’s the fatty part of the plant.” It still has the pop and shine of plastic glitter. Bongiovanni said this glitter will not stick around.
“It will biodegrade in waste water in 90 days.”
Kate Mccurdy helps run the Glitter Box. The artist shop on Royal street is just the place for Bongiovanni’s bioglitter.
“It’s run by local femme folks for local femme folks so we have over 150 artist from New Orleans and the Gulf South area. We have jewelers, painters, book makers clearly anything you can think of. We also work with different nonprofits each month,” said Mccurdy.
She’s excited to see the push to find environmentally friendly ways to keep the celebration going.
She said, “I know that they used to measure the success of Mardi Gras based on how much trash was collected and now they’ve stopped doing that. That’s a really cool systemic change to recognize that waste is not a positive thing and trash is not a positive thing.”
The Glitter Box is one of the places you can get your hands on the bio glitter in small quantities.
Bongiovanni tells us going into business was never the plan.
“I didn’t decide to get into the glitter business it kind of just happened,” she said.
When she found her ecofriendly alternative online buying in bulk was the most economical way to get it.
Bongiovanni said, “It's really, really pricey online. Biodegradeable is not cheap as with anything.”
After sharing the haul with friends it just snowballed from there.
Bongiovanni said, “It kind of then rolled into me doing glitter for strangers and trading bartenders for drinks. Now I sell here in the Glitter Box and I’m just trying to move up and spread that plastic glitter is really awful.”