Eco-friendly alternatives to plastic cotton buds worth knowing about

Posted by
Lucy Partington

With a complete ban on plastic cotton buds coming into play, 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.

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It’s not just consumers getting in on the action either, beauty brands are leading the way, too. Just last week 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 yesterday the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced a ban on plastic-stemmed cotton buds in England. 

The proposed ban will come into place in April 2020 and 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.

Although there’s still just under a year until the ban will be enforced, it’s definitely not too early to start replacing the plastic ones with eco-friendly alternatives.

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

The best plastic-free, eco-friendly cotton buds 

Main image: Getty


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Lucy Partington

Lucy Partington is Stylist’s beauty editor. She’s 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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