Sustainable alternatives to the single-use cotton swabs.
Useful to clean our ears, to help with our makeup or multitude of other applications, chances are that you have recently used a cotton swab. The question here is what did you do with it?
We don't like to guess, but chances are that this little items of our every day life went to the trash and given that the vast majority of ear swabs are made with a mix of both plastic and cotton, they can't be recycled.
So they will be around for hundreds of years, and before they disappear they will probably filter into our natural environment polluting the oceans and harming the sea life.
Let's first learn about how single-use swabs impact the planet and then we will show you some alternatives that we are in love with.
How do cotton swabs impact the planet?
- Ocean Pollution: It is worrying to think that 99% of all sea birds, will have eaten plastics by 2050. By 2050 it is expected that there will be more plastic than fish in the sea. The impact on marine life is evident but how this could impact communities around the world that live off fishing and their main source of protein comes from fish, is yet to be seen. Non recyclable and small enough to go unnoticed they are one of the most common plastic waste found in beaches.
- Fossil Fuels: By using single-use plastic we are dangerously indicating to companies that there is high demand for fossil fuels.
- Water Use: By using single-use cotton swabs, there is a waste of water through two ways. One is due to the water from the plastic production and another is from producing the cotton. Since the cotton used in single-use ear swabs is mostly from non ecological, organic or sustainable sources the water used in their production is not efficient. Up to 20,000 litres of water per one kilogram of cotton. Either reusable or cotton from water efficient sources is required.
- Attitude: Throwing away a single-use item every time we clean our ears already sets our minds into a disposable mindset. It is important to change those small things in our lives that we may think make no difference but can help in a simple way set our mindsets for bigger sustainable swaps.
Sustainable alternatives to single-use swabs
Now the good and happy news, there are alternatives that are either plastic-free and biodegradable, or reusable to altogether end the problem of single-use. We love these sustainable alternatives to plastic ear swabs:
Forget about buying and throwing away single-use plastic ear swabs. With this reusable cotton swabs from LastObject made with silicone, you can help save the planet more than 1000 single-use swabs. Easy to clean and very durable, you just need to clean them with warm water and a bit of soap and ready to go again!
This Makeup q-tip is a reusable, sustainable and sanitary alternative to cotton swabs and buds. With tips specially designed to help you apply cosmetics and makeup or for touch-ups. Who said makeup couldn't be sustainable?
For those that are still not ready to swap to a reusable alternative, and still need some time to adapt, we recommend these plastic free bamboo ear swabs from Hydrophil. They are made with bamboo and organic cotton. They are 100% plastic free and fully biodegradable and compostable ear swabs.
Now you have the knowledge, the solutions and the power to implement this little change that makes a big difference to our planet and sea life. Make sure to teach and share what you learn along the way, because together we are the solution!