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Alternatives to glow Sticks?
July 15, 2013 - 1:05 pm

I recently found this blog and thought it would be a good place to ask about this.


I was just at an amazing music festival that I returned from yesterday and there is a huge environmental initiative at the festival. There is composting everywhere and all food vendors use compostable products or reusable plates with a $2 deposite that you receive back on return. composting is not yet a regular thing in this province so that is a big deal. They also are going to ban plastic water bottle sales next year and currently only have them at a couple of locations.


But in the campgrounds at the night the most popular assets are glow sticks! Which is so much plastic and chemicals! This is the first year I thought about all that waste! I had a friend who made a skirt out of 300 glow sticks and another who made two 1000 glow stick costumes so he could have them for two nights! even the people who aren’t using excessive amounts all have some, literally everyone uses them (even I did and I couldn’t stop thinking of the waste!)


Does anybody know of any good sustainable solutions that people on these campgrounds and anywhere else might consider? Let me know!

Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator
July 16, 2013 - 5:30 am

Thank you for posting this question regarding glow sticks. The truth is, there is no green alternative to glow sticks. Glow sticks glow as a result of a chemical reaction mainly from hydrogen peroxide and diethyl phthalates. These chemicals are encased by glass and then a plastic outer shell which makes them entirely non recyclable. The best alternative I can come up with is by forgoing glow sticks altogether and instead try wearing bright, neon colored clothing. Another option would be to use LED lights which can be sewn into clothing. LED lights aren’t a plastic free alternative however but they last a lot longer than the average 4-5 hours you get from a glow stick. For more information on glow light alternatives such as glow in the dark clothing check out this link:

Beth Terry
409 Posts
July 16, 2013 - 11:41 am

@plastic-free-moderator Ericka, thank you for finding that site!  I am going to forward it to the Earth Guardians at Burning Man.  Glo sticks are a big problem there, too.  But so is not being seen in the dark (aka darkwad), which can have tragic consequences in the short term.  I will read it and forward it along.

July 31, 2013 - 7:54 am

We have some flashlights where the body of the flashlight glows.  (One changes color in a cycle too.)  We also have these plastic strings that glow and change color.  These are still plastic, but battery powered and reusable.  When camping, I put a glowing necklace on each kid so I can find them in the dark.  This doesn’t stop people from buying them glowsticks as gifts unfortunately.

March 30, 2016 - 8:49 pm

Could biodegradable plastic be a more environmental friendly alternative for making glow sticks?

June 27, 2017 - 3:19 pm

What happen when the interior of a glowstick leaks out is it harmless ? – what biodegradeable plastics can contain glowstick chemicals ? What happens to a glowstick once it is binned ? Should a glowstick go for landfill? /incineration?/recycling ?

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