Biodegradable glitter is on the cards with trials underway

The option of biodegradable flitter could be a ‘hooray’ for the industry if the recent trials as Windles (pictured) and Loxleys prove viable.
The option of biodegradable flitter could be a ‘hooray’ for the industry if the recent trials as Windles (pictured) and Loxleys prove viable.

With environmental issues coming to the fore – both on the public’s and the political agendas – the industry is proving that it is not slouching on this front. Moreover, it looks set to ‘sparkle’ in an environmentally-friendly way, with trials underway on biodegradable glitter.

Two of the industry’s specialist greeting card printers, Windles and Loxleys are both underway with trials on different variants of biodegradable glitter.

Both printers are working with Powder Arts, leaders in the flitter field and going by the results of the initial trials they are equally optimistic of coming up with alternatives.

While no trace of any particle of glitter from a greeting card has been found in the oceans – with the University of Plymouth’s major research project confirming this around British waters – coming up with a biodegradable alternative that can be affixed using a resin powder that is equally as environmentally-friendly is a progressive course of action.

Last Friday (January 12) Windles ran inaugural tests on its printing machines, trialling biodegradable flitters in gold and silver.

Powder Arts’ Steve Davis (centre) with Windles’ md Bruce Podmore and colleague Richard Hall, who has been a flitter operator for 20 years.

As Michelle Mills, business development manager of Windles told PG Buzz: “It is all very well being able to affix biodegradable flitter by hand, but we need to be confident that this can be done by machine. It is all looking good though!”

Meanwhile, up in Sheffield, Loxleys has also been running trials using slightly different biodegradable flitters, the results of which are also encouraging.

As Richard Bacon, md told PG Buzz: “This is just part of our Loxleys4Life project. The UK greeting card industry’s environmental credentials are very good, but there is always room for improvement. It is the whole industry’s interest that we continue to raise the bar on this front.”

Loxley’s md Richard Bacon (left) and commercial director Tony Lorriman with some sample cards from the recent trials the Sheffield-based printer has run using Powder Arts’ biodegradable flitter.

Loxley’s trials include not only affixing the biodegradable glitter, but also encapsulating it in an environmentally friendly ‘varnish’, but with minimal loss of sparkle.

Both Windles and Loxleys are working with Powder Arts on their respective trials. The long established St Albans-based business (part of the Caslon) sources and mixes glitters from around the world (in 50 colours and countless mixtures). As well as being a leading supplier to the greeting card industry it is also involved in other sectors, such as the cosmetic world and crafting trade.

Loxleys4Life project is part of the Sherwood Group’s ongoing commitment to environmental and social responsibility concerns.
Loxleys4Life project is part of the Sherwood Group’s ongoing commitment to environmental and social responsibility concerns.

While Steve Davis, sales manager of Powder Arts, stresses it is still “early doors” and too soon to claim a victory with the biodegradable flitter, he confirmed that the trials with both Loxleys and Windles were looking “positive”. Well experienced in this field, he says that the cosmetic industry too is well underway on its quest to switch to biodegradable glitter.

“We just need to make sure that it works for the environment as well as commercially for the greeting card industry, so we can deliver a viable solution to our customers,” he said.

With all this developmental research underway though it does look like the greeting card industry will continue to sparkle on all fronts.

 

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