An essential item in every bathroom is the small but mighty cotton bud, commonly used for cleaning ears but also for removing mascara and touching up nail polish.
However, whilst they may be small, they have a terrible track record for causing mass plastic waste.
So much so that the UK government banned plastic cotton buds in 2020 due to the harm they were causing on the environment.
Over 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed buds were used in England each year, often ending up in the ocean and washed up on beaches.
Thankfully there are a couple of key eco-friendly cotton bud alternatives that don’t have plastic stems that you should be using – those being bamboo or paper cotton buds.
Why are bamboo cotton buds better than paper buds?
Whilst paper cotton buds are far better than plastic versions, we suggest using bamboo cotton buds because bamboo has some essential qualities that give it the edge over paper e.g.
- Bamboo is more sturdy and durable compared to paper, which means it won’t bend when wet or if put under any pressure you may be applying when removing make-up or cleaning your ears.
- Bamboo cotton buds need less resources to produce compared paper buds, thus protecting wildlife habitats and reducing your carbon footprint.
- Bamboo has outstanding carbon reducing qualities as it produces 30% more oxygen and absorbs 35% more carbon dioxide than equivalent strands of trees.
- Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth making it hugely sustainable, and has been found to grow 35” inches per day – bamboo holds a Guinness World record to prove it!
What are the best bamboo cotton buds?
Always look for bamboo cotton buds that are packaged in fully recyclable and/or compostable packaging, as there are some companies that still use micro-plastic film to cover their bamboo bud boxes.
We would highly recommend the Non Plastic Beach Bamboo Cotton Buds which come in a pack of 200.
Not only are they plastic free, sustainably made, sturdy and packaged in a fully recyclable and biodegradable box, you will be lowering your carbon footprint by using them.
How to dispose of bamboo cotton buds?
The best way to dispose of bamboo cotton buds is to put them into your organic waste or compost bin, as they are 100% compostable.
It’s not advised to flush them down the toilet – even though they will biodegrade if they end up in the ocean from there – as a collection of cotton buds can cause a blockage in the drainage system.
Can you recycle bamboo cotton buds?
The short answer is no. Whilst bamboo cotton buds are fully biodegradable and compostable, in most cases they are not recyclable.
However it does depend on what country you live in, so it is worth checking with your local recycling center and specialist recycling facilities.
It’s also worth noting that whilst paper cotton buds are recyclable, because they are so small they often get missed in the recycling process and end up in landfill.
Whereas you know that once you have composted bamboo buds they will have naturally cycled back into earth where they started their life.
Hopefully this has been a helpful guide in your selection of bamboo cotton buds instead of less eco friendly alternatives.
If you have any eco-friendly ideas you’d like to share with us, or an environmentally friendly product that you would like us to feature on the site, email us with your details: email@example.com