Eco-friendly alternatives to plastic cotton buds worth knowing about

Posted by for Beauty

With a complete ban on plastic cotton buds now in effect, these are the environmentally friendly alternatives to use instead.

As a nation we’re getting more and more savvy when it comes to being eco-conscious and more sustainability-minded.

Whether a reusable coffee cup has become a staple in your handbag or you’re slowly learning what can and can’t be recycled from your beauty cupboard, it seems everyone is making small changes that will have a positive impact on the planet.

It’s not just consumers getting in on the action either: beauty brands are leading the way, too. Boots recently announced its new in-store recycling scheme (which will reward you with Advantage Card points, FYI), a year ago, Holland & Barrett announced a UK ban on all wet wipes in all 800 of its stores, and SPF is becoming more environmentally friendly too.

The government is also making waves, and today [Thursday 1 October] a ban on plastic-stemmed cotton buds has come into effect in England. 

The ban also includes the supply of both plastic straws and stirrers, but they will still be available to people with medical needs.

It’s estimated that 1.8 billion cotton buds are used every single year, with 10% of them being flushed down toilets, which means they can end up in waterways and oceans, causing blockages and harm to wildlife.

So we sought out eco-friendly alternatives that can replace the plastic cotton buds you used to have sitting in your bathroom.

Here’s our round-up of what’s available…

The best plastic-free, eco-friendly cotton buds

  • Hydrophil Cotton & Bamboo Buds


    These cotton buds are made from bamboo and soft cotton, meaning they’re 100% biodegradable.

    Hydrophil Cotton & Bamboo Buds, £2.30 for 100

  • Pandastix Bamboo Cotton Buds


    Made from 100% pure cotton and organic bamboo, Pandastix donates a proportion of sales to One Tree Planted, a organisation that plants trees in Africa, Asia, North America and Latin America. These buds are fully biodegradable, too.

    Pandastix Bamboo Cotton Buds, £5.99 for 200

  • Eco Living Organic Fairtrade Cotton Buds


    Made with a carbon low footprint, these cotton buds are also 100% recyclable, biodegradable and fair trade. Plus, for every box of cotton buds sold, Eco Living will plant a tree through Eden Reforestation Projects.

    Eco Living Organic Fairtrade Cotton Buds, £2.50 for 100

  • Superdrug Cotton Paper Buds


    Made from 100% pure cotton wool, these buds are soft to use and easy to dispose of.

    Superdrug Cotton Paper Buds, £1.09 for 200

Main image: Getty

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Lucy Partington

Freelance beauty editor Lucy Partington is obsessed with all things skincare, collecting eyeshadow palettes that she'll probably never use, and is constantly on the hunt for the ultimate glowy foundation.

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