Cotton Buds Ban: What Are My Alternatives?

Have you heard about the ban on plastic cotton buds due to come into force from April 2020 onwards? It’s part of the package of measures designed to reduce the amount of plastic waste in our environment, but it might catch people unawares as the plastic straw element of the ban has received far more attention.

Plastic cotton buds are an environmental menace because they’re frequently flushed away and linger in the sewage system collecting toxins only to be eaten by marine life once they pass into rivers and oceans. So, with a plastic cotton bud ban on the horizon, what are your options for switching?

1. Wood

Wooden stems for cotton buds have already been adopted by some, and they’re a great alternative for those who want a sturdy cotton bud which will also biodegrade. For anyone applying makeup or cleaning it away, for example, wooden buds can be easy to grip. Remember to check that the wood sourced for these biodegradable cotton buds is derived from sustainable sources, otherwise you’re swapping one environmental issue for another.

2. Bamboo

Bamboo is fast becoming an alternative to plastic in numerous settings, and cotton buds are no exception. Bamboo is another biodegradable material and, as such, is highly environmentally friendly and popular amongst eco-groups. As with wooden buds, just make sure the bamboo comes from a sustainable source and is disposed of correctly.

3. Paper

Some major companies have already made the switch from plastic to paper cotton buds, and they’re certainly an option for people looking for a cheap alternative that is still environmentally friendly. The trick to making a decent paper cotton bud stick is to use just the right amount of paper wrapped together, otherwise the whole thing will fall apart. After use, it will biodegrade in the same way any piece of paper will over time.

4. Reusable

While the focus on delivering environmentally friendly cotton buds has focused on biodegradable materials, there’s another strand that’s also making an impact – reusable buds. Now, like reusable straws, there’s evidently a cleaning issue to bear in mind, but buds that can be easily used, washed and reused work out economically friendly in the long run and have less of an environmental impact than many other options. Remember, even if a cotton bud is made from renewable sources, it’ll still require making and shipping – that’s energy that could be saved if you go reusable.

Whatever option you choose, that April 2020 deadline isn’t far away so you’d better make the change now. Just like with plastic straws, the plastic cotton bud ban is designed to make millions of tiny differences mount up into one huge one. Be part of the change without sacrificing the simplicity of using cotton buds for everyday tasks.

 

Fancy reading some more?

Plastic Straw Alternatives: Our Top 5 Materials

Whether you run a bar, café, restaurant or some other type of eatery, you’ll likely be familiar with the debates around plastic straws. Some high-profile documentaries have led to plastic straws moving to the forefront of the fight against plastic waste. Yet many...

read more