Beloved by make-up artists for tidying up an eyeliner flick or buffing dead skin from the lips, cotton buds are a fixture in many of our beauty routines. However, we get through an estimated 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds every year, with 10 percent of those going on to be flushed.
In a move to help try and curb our reliance on single-use plastics, the Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has announced that from April 2020, a ban will be coming into effect on plastic cotton buds, as well as coffee stirrers and straws.
With an estimated 1.5 million tonnes of plastic in our oceans and around 100,000 sea mammals dying every year from either eating or getting tangled in plastic waste, it’s clear that urgent action is needed. Plastic has even been found at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, some eleven kilometers below the seafloor.
Instead of plastic, you can buy planet-friendly cotton buds made from material such as recycled cardboard or bamboo. It’s All About You offers zero-waste bamboo cotton buds priced at just £2 for 100 which can be recycled or composted – even the packaging is made from recycled materials.
Just two weeks ago, Holland & Barrett discontinued wipes from all stores, and The Body Shop has followed suit, saying that wipes will no longer be sold in its stores as soon as October. Likewise, 2018’s microbead ban went on to inspire similar legislation around the world. It’s heartening to see so many British beauty brands and bodies making positive steps towards sustainable goals, and we hope this is just the beginning.