Glow sticks are fun! There is no getting around it. If you don’t like glow sticks, you’re missing out on life. Seriously though, you can keep a kid entertained for a long time with a glow stick or two, provided it is dark out!

But there is a darker side to glow sticks. After all the smiles and cheer are over, those fun glow sticks get thrown in the garbage after just one use. Not good.

So what’s a person to do? Deprive their kiddos of hours of fun or find an environmentally friendly alternative to glow sticks?

I bet you can guess which one I did! That’s right, down another google rabbit hole I tumbled. I found out a lot about glow sticks and their ecofriendly alternatives.

First, let’s explore traditional glow sticks, then get into environmentally friendly alternatives (if they even exist!)

Environmental impact of glow stick production

Glow sticks are made from plastic and non-toxic chemicals. Due to the chemicals involved, the plastic casing is unrecyclable, as well they are single-use items meaning that they end up in the landfill after one use.

On top of the plastic being harmful to the environment, the chemicals inside the glow stick pollute the air when they inevitably spill out.

Needless to say, the environmental impact of glow stick production is a negative one to say the least.

Are glow sticks environmentally friendly?

No. See above.

Are glow sticks biodegradable?

No, they are made from plastic and chemicals, neither of which are biodegradable.

Can you recycle glow sticks?

Also, no. Although glow sticks are made out of plastic, the chemicals inside render them unrecyclable.

Are glow sticks safe for children?

Glow sticks are generally safe for children. If they break open, dispose of them immediately. 

If your child happens to ingest some of the chemicals inside, give them water and watch for symptoms such as minor mouth or throat irritation. If the chemicals get on your child’s skin, wash them off immediately with soap and water and watch for skin redness and general irritation. 

life + gear glow sticks

Ecofriendly glow sticks

There is honestly not a lot of ecofriendly glow sticks on the market right now. The best one I found is a reusable glow stick by Life + Gear

Features include:

  • Reusable with 20 hours of continuous light
  • Twist On/Off operation
  • Non-toxic and eco-friendly
  • Available in red, blue, and green

I don’t believe these glow sticks are recyclable, but the are multi-use and do not contain chemicals, so they are a better alternative than traditional glow sticks.

nyoka biodegradable glow stick

Compostable glow sticks

There is a biodegradable glow stick that is not quite on the market right now. Actually, there is a Kickstarter campaign going on at the time I am writing this. It’s called the Nyoka:

Nyoka was started to create a completely non-toxic, biodegradable light source based on bioluminescence that is not only safe for people and the planet, but helps to restore some of the damage.

The Light Wand is algae-based, composts quickly in terrestrial and aquatic environments, and is vegan af. We have designed the Wand to hold biochar – a soil-microbiome booster that helps local organisms to thrive. 

 The Wand itself is infinitely reusable, and the glow is created with non-toxic bioluminescent enzymes. Just add water and shake to glow!

If The Light Wand sounds as good to you as it does to me, consider donating to Nyoka on Kickstarter and help these awesome innovators create a biodegradable glow stick! Who knows what other environmentally friendly products they will come up with. 

Well, there you have it, one and a half environmentally friendly alternatives to glow sticks. I think it is safe to say that the glow stick industry needs a major ecofriendly overhaul. 

Here’s the thing, glow sticks are fun and all, but if they stopped making them, would anyone really notice. Probably not. We would just pull out our phone and use the light instead. 

So, next time your’re in the party aisle at the dollar store, just leave the glow sticks on the shelf, the earth will thank you!

What do you use to light up the night with? Let me know in the comments below.

Cheers, and have an awesome day!



  1. Paige Whitehead

    Hello Clarify Green – it would be great to add the LUMI to this list – another eco-friendly glow stick made by Nyoka Design Labs – this one is reusable, rechargeable, and electricity-free

    • Ingrid

      Hi Paige, do you sell in the UK and do you have discounts for charities please?

  2. Sarah

    Shame. I really thought there might be something that could be done with them. Feel guilty now. Won’t be buying again.


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