Plastic Free Cotton Buds
It’s easy to think that the small changes don’t make that much of a difference when it comes to the bigger picture. But making small changes, such as switching to biodegradable cotton buds or reusable straws can make a big difference when added together over time.
Plastic stemmed cotton buds have now been banned in England as of the 1st of October 2020 but they are still available in other parts of the world with some big manufacturers even supplying plastic stemmed cotton buds in some regions and paper stemmed buds in others.
The ban in England came into force at the same time as a ban on the supply of single use plastic drinking straws and plastic drinks stirrers and is the latest step in the government plan to eliminate unnecessary plastic waste. The plastic bag charge also went up to 10p per bag and will be applied to all retailers as of April 2021.
Even if plastic cotton buds are still available to buy where you are there are good reasons why you should make the switch to bamboo cotton buds as they are a far better option for the planet and the health of our oceans due to the fact that they are biodegradable.
Small Changes Make a Big Difference
It might seem crazy but in England it is estimated that people were using 1.8 billion plastic stemmed cotton buds a year. That’s a lot of little plastic sticks that cannot be recycled. And that is just one country.
The sad fact is that while they are not recyclable many cotton buds don’t even end up in landfill. They end up in our oceans. The good news is that we can change that. The Marine Conservation Society has an annual Great British Beach Clean where people clean their local beaches and catalogue what they find. In 2017 there was an average of 31 plastic stemmed cotton buds per 100 meters of beach. By 2019, with manufacturers making changes ahead of the 2020 ban, that number dropped to 8.
Benefits of Bamboo Cotton Buds
So what are the benefits of choosing bamboo cotton buds?
- They are just as effective as plastic cotton buds so you don’t need to worry about a reduction in functionality.
- Bamboo sticks are more eco friendly than paper sticks which require glue.
- Bamboo sticks are sturdier than paper sticks.
- Bamboo is a highly renewable resource that grows quickly.
- You can put bamboo cotton buds in the compost provided you haven’t soaked them in nail polish remover or other nasty chemicals.
- And if you don’t have a compost heap you can simply stick them in the soil.
Next Up: What Can I Use to Clean My Ears Instead of Cotton Buds?