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Nursery children banned from using glitter over ecological concerns

Thousands of children at the Tops Day Nurseries chain will be banned from using glitter. Credit: PA

Children are to be banned from using glitter at a group of nursery schools over concerns about the damage it does to the environment.

The bar has been brought in at Tops Day Nurseries, which has 19 branches caring for around 3,000 children across the South of England.

Managing director Cheryl Hadland said she made the decision after learning that glitter is a microplastic which cannot be recycled.

She said the 22,000 nurseries across the UK are doing "terrible damage" and harming the world for future generations by using the sparkly decoration.

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.

– Cheryl Hadland
Children at Tops Day Nursery in Christchurch, Bournemouth, use rice and lentils in place of glitter. Credit: PA

Children at some of the nurseries are now being invited to use lentils or rice as biodegrable alternatives to glitter.

It is also possible to buy eco-glitter which is naturally biodegradable through a growing number of specialist makers.

Ms Hadland said she was confident that parents would be supportive of her decision to bar glitter.

"We did a survey a few months ago and 86% of our parents want us to be eco-sustainable," she said. "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.

The nursery chain's decision to ban glitter was praised by a marine conservation charity. Credit: PA

It comes amid growing awareness of the damage caused by microplastics - tiny scraps of plastic that can kill wildlife and are polluting the seas.

Sue Kinsey from the Marine Conservation Society praised the nursery chain's "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 thes ewill 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!"