https www.cleanocean.orgcotton bud survey

Are Cotton Buds Bad for the Environment?

Cotton buds are a staple of our everyday lives. They can be found in millions of households around the world, and we understand why. Cotton buds may be small, but they sure are mighty. From mascara smudges to cleaning scraps and cuts, cotton buds are super useful to have around the house and they always come in handy. But, do you know what happens to all these cotton buds we use for a couple of seconds and then throw away? This blog is going to deep dive into the cotton bud industry and the negative impacts it is having on our environment!

First of all, let’s talk about why cotton buds are so bad. You may be thinking how can something so small cause such havoc? Well, it’s not the little cotton tips, but the plastic stem in between them that is causing the problem. We all know single-use plastics are a massive problem, and these handy cotton buds are simply just another single-use plastic product!

Cotton Buds end up in our oceans and waterways

More and more we are seeing these plastic stems ending up on our beaches or in our marine life. It’s estimated that over 130,000 tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans each year, and cotton buds are a big contributor to that number. Cotton buds are so bad that the WWF listed them on Australia’s Top 10 list of the worst single-use plastics!

The problem with these cotton buds, it that all too often people flush them (you might as well drop them straight into the ocean). These cotton bud sticks can then cause blockages in our sewers and water systems which is very costly to fix, but also means that more plastic ends up going into our oceans and waterways where it will not only affect marine life but us as well!

So, let's talk numbers...1.5 billion cotton buds are produced EVERY DAY!

Even scarier than that number is the fact that the average person is disposing of 415 cotton buds every year! Plastic is a great material! It’s versatile and it’s last forever, but when we are only using it for a couple of seconds, surely the need for it is made redundant? Cotton buds are among the worst offenders when it comes to being environmentally unfriendly.

The main risk of these buds lays in their small size and shape. By the time they find themselves in our waterways, the cotton part has faded away and they are left in a long, thin shape. One that is easily ingested by our marine life, with incidents of whole sticks being found in turtle’s digestive systems. These sticks are made of plastic, and so they are toxic to these animals and will cause severe and deadly issues for our wildlife.

So if you aren’t convinced that cotton buds are really bad for our environment yet, then don’t just take our word for it! Last year, the UK went as far as to ban the sale and distribution of cotton buds! This was a huge accomplishment for the UK government and its one that the rest of the world is slowly moving towards! Our days of single-use plastics are numbered and it’s time we all made changes to our consumer habits.

The good news is that there are plenty of alternatives out there! Reusable Earbuds are a great choice for someone who wants to reduce their impact and the best part is that you’ll never feel guilty about throwing away an old cotton bud again!

At Eco Essentials, we are proud to stock a great alternative to cotton buds! Our reusable silicone swabs are eco-friendly and made from high-quality silicone. Designed to last 1000+ uses, they are great for removing dirt and apply makeup.

The set comes complete with two double-sided applicators, with one specifically designed for makeup application – bonus points! All in all, this is the next big thing in bathroom products and a great alternative to nasty cotton buds!

Reusable Earbuds
ear buds 2

If you’re loving the sound of our Reusable Earbuds, you might also be interested in our Eco-Friendly Skincare Bundle! This eco-friendly bundle includes one pack of our Reusable Earbuds and a set of our Reusable Facial Pads. The beauty industry has a huge impact on the environment every year! Make a positive difference today by switching to these products that will leave your skin feeling beautiful while helping save the earth

eco-friendly skincare
Photo Credit: Clean Ocean Foundation

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