Is gender reveal confetti biodegradable? (3 differences between confetti and glitter)

This blog article shall answer the question of the biodegradability of the gender reveal confetti.

It shall also cover other areas such as:

  • Definition of confetti.
  • Applications of gender reveal confetti.
  • Biodegradation process
  • Eco-friendliness of gender-reveal confetti.

Is gender reveal confetti biodegradable?

No, gender reveal confetti is non-biodegradable. The traditional gender reveal confetti is usually made from plastic polyvinyl chloride which is highly resistant to microbial breakdown.

Other types of confetti are made from biodegradable materials such as papers and are highly biodegradable. 

The biodegradability of gender reveal confetti, therefore, depends on the key ingredients from which they are made. Confetti made from synthetic plastics is non-biodegradable while confetti made from organic material is biodegradable.

What is biodegradation?

Biodegradation is the breakdown of organic matter by microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi into the water, carbon dioxide, methane, and minerals. Heat energy is produced in the process.

Biodegradation occurs in three distinct stages: biodeterioration, bio-fragmentation, and assimilation.

Biodeterioration is the first stage of biodegradation that involves abiotic factors such as light, UV radiation, and water to help in the weakening of the structure of organic substances.

Bio-fragmentation is the second stage that involves the physical breakdown of organic matter into small particles, this is due to the biodeterioration of the organic matter in the first stage.

Assimilation is the last stage of biodegradation. It involves the bacteria and the fungi taking up the minerals and small biomass produced by the previous two stages into their biological systems.

The minerals are used as a source of energy and carbon for the synthesis of cells and tissues.

Biodegradation can occur in the presence or absence of oxygen. When biodegradation involves the microorganisms using oxygen, the process is called aerobic biodegradation.

Aerobic biodegradation produces carbon dioxide, water, and small biomass. Heat energy is also produced in the process. Aerobic biodegradation occurs very fast but it is not very efficient.

When biodegradation occurs in the absence of oxygen, it is called anaerobic biodegradation. The products of anaerobic biodegradation include water, carbon dioxide, and small biomass. 

In addition to these products, methane gas is also produced. Heat energy is released during the breakdown. 

Anaerobic biodegradation occurs slowly but is more efficient than aerobic biodegradation.

Biodegradation can be affected by several factors such as water, light, temperatures, the bioavailability of a molecule, and pH.

Water helps in the biodeterioration and mechanical fragmentation of substances, increasing the surface area for microbial degradation.

Light emits radiations that help in the biodeterioration and bio-fragmentation of organic matter. UV radiation is the most effective radiation. 

Temperature affects the rate of biodegradation. Some microorganisms are very active in high temperatures while others are active in low temperatures. The optimum temperatures for the microorganisms increase the rate of biodegradation.

Bioavailability is the availability of an organic substance to microorganisms. Highly concentrated organic matter has high bioavailability and this increases the rate of biodegradation.

pH is the measure of acidity or basicity of a substance. Some microorganisms are very active in acidic pH while others are active in neutral or alkaline pH. Optimum pH increases the rate of biodegradation.

Advantages of biodegradation.

Biodegradation has several advantages which include the following:

  • It cleans the environment of the wastes.
  • Applicable to a wide range of products.
  • It can be triggered through composting
  • It is cost-effective.
  • Results to soil enrichment with nutrients.
  • Used to produce bioenergy.
  • Biodegradation through fermentation has led to the manufacturing of drugs.
  • It leads to the production of organic acids and alcohol.

Disadvantages of biodegradation.

Biodegradation has several disadvantages which include:

  • It leads to wear and tear of organic-based materials such as clothes.
  • It takes a very long time to degrade waste.
  • When used to produce bioenergy, it requires a lot of biomass.
  • It is easily affected by contaminants such as oil and antibiotics.
  • It is only limited to organic matter.

What is the gender reveal confetti?

Gender reveal confetti is a type of confetti, usually blue and pink in color that is blown into the air using a popper. The gender of the baby is revealed by shouting “blue confetti” for a boy or “pink confetti” for a girl.

Confetti is small pieces of paper or metalized plastics that are blown into the air at different parties and functions. 

Confetti usually comes in different shapes and colors depending on the type of celebration. The most common shape is a star.

What materials are confetti made from?

Confetti is a metalized material that is usually made from polyvinyl chloride plastic or Mylar plastic.

Polyvinyl chloride.

Polyvinyl chloride is a synthetic plastic polymer. It is one of the most produced and used polymers in the world alongside polyethylene( polythene).

Polyvinyl chloride occurs in two forms.

  • Rigid PVC.
  • Soft or flexible PVC.

Rigid PVC.

This is the hard form of polyvinyl chloride polymer.

It is used to make plastic appliances such as plastic bottles, cups, plates, pipes, doors, and windows.

Flexible PVC.

This is the soft form of polyvinyl chloride.

It is acquired from rigid PVC by softening it using chemicals such as phthalates.

It is used to make insulators, signage, flooring, and leather.

PVC has a wide variety of uses, but the main challenge is that it is non-biodegradable and hence it pollutes the water bodies and soil.

Mylar.

This is a common name for the plastic BoPET( biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate).

Mylar polyester is made from stretched polyethylene terephthalate. It is commonly used because of properties such as high tensile strength, chemical resistance, highly transparent, and high reflectivity. 

It is impermeable to gases and aroma.

Applications of Mylar.

The following are the various applications of Mylar plastic.

  • It is used to make confetti.
  • It is used as a glossy top for photographic print.
  • It is used to make metalized films.
  • It is used as lidding for fresh foods.
  • It is used to protect the spine of important documents.
  • It is used as an electrical insulator.
  • It is used in the production of drumheads.
  • It is used to make floppy disks and magnetic recording tapes.
  • It is used to make metallic balloons.
  • It is used to make kites.
  • It is used to cover glass to prevent shattering.

What is the difference between gender reveal confetti and glitter?

Most times people confuse between glitter and confetti. The previous section has described what confetti is, now let’s describe what glitter is.

What is Glitter?

This is a compound made up of small and reflective particles that contain different shapes, colors, and sizes.

The glitter particles reflect light at different angles, causing sparkling.

Glitter is usually made from synthetic plastics such as polyethylene terephthalate and metallic elements such as aluminum.

Other reflective metallic materials can be used in place of aluminum to add sparkling abilities. These metals include titanium dioxide, iron oxide, and bismuth oxychloride.

Glitter can also be made from other materials such as mica and malachite.

What are the properties of glitter?

The following are the properties of glitter.

  • Glitter reflects light at different angles, causing their surfaces to sparkle.
  • Glitter contains magnetic properties.
  • It is non-biodegradable.

As it can be deduced, glitter and confetti are almost similar but glitter is usually smaller than confetti and it sparkles and reflects light.

Glitter is usually made from polyethylene terephthalate while confetti is made from stretched polyethylene terephthalate called biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate.

Glitter can be made from other minerals such as titanium oxide and iron oxide while confetti is usually made from polyvinyl chloride.

What is the future of gender reveal confetti?

According to a study, the usage of non-biodegradable confetti is rapidly coming to an end. 

Efforts are being made to protect the environment from pollution caused by plastics, as a result, the use of non-biodegradable confetti has seriously been criticized.

The following organic, biodegradable materials have been used to either act as confetti or as materials to make confetti.

  • Flower petals.
  • Traditional tissue paper.
  • Grains of rice.
  • Cellulose materials.

Is gender reveal confetti eco-friendly?

No, gender reveal confetti made from synthetic plastics such as PVC and Mylar are not eco-friendly.

These materials are not susceptible to microbial degradation and therefore accumulate in the environment, causing pollution.

Microplastics from these materials leach the soil and reach water bodies upon which they affect the endocrine system of aquatic life.

Conclusion.

This article has addressed the question of the biodegradability of gender reveal confetti.

It has also covered other areas such as uses of confetti, materials used to make confetti, comparison between confetti and glitter, and the future of confetti.

For any questions or comments please use the comment section below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): is the gender reveal confetti biodegradable?

How do you clean gender reveal confetti?

Confetti is cleaned using a vacuum, rake, or a blower. Biodegradable confetti can be used to make compost while non-biodegradable confetti can be recycled.

Are confetti bombs safe?

Confetti bombs or cannons are safe to use when they are handled with a lot of care. Children should be taught how to use them and be monitored while using them.

How long does it take for biodegradable confetti to decompose?

The rate of biodegradation, as covered earlier, is dependent on a various factors. Confetti will biodegradable depending with the pH, the oxygen concentration, availability of enzyme activators, certain temperatures and many other factors.

Citations.

Admin on June 29, 2011 (2011-06-29). “A Brief History of Confett”. Foodinitaly.org. Archived from the original on April 14, 2013. Retrieved 2014-07-21.

Adams, John Francis Edward; Gerber, Kenneth George; Holmes-Walker, William Anthony, “Process for the production of biaxially oriented polyethylene terephthalate film”, U.S. patent no. 3,177,277 (

Wagner, Sara (February 8, 2018). “Let’s Talk About Glitter!”. Cut to the Trace. Retrieved October 21, 2018.

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