Are you already decided to ditch your plastic-stemmed cotton buds for an eco-friendly one this 2021? If so, let me help you. I made a list of the 4 best eco-friendly cotton buds to make your transition to greener ear care easier.
Plastic-stemmed cotton buds are considered as problematic as plastic straws. While cotton tip takes 1-5 months to biodegrade, the plastic stem takes 200 years to biodegrade, and some will never rot away! An estimated 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds are being used per year in England alone! You can read more problematic facts about plastic-stemmed cotton buds in my post: Cotton Bud Alternatives – For A Low Waste Ear Care.
We are not supposed to clean our ears with cotton buds according to experts, but the feeling of satisfaction after “scratching an itch” feels really, really good! If you can’t imagine ear care without cotton buds (like me), here’s a list of eco-friendly cotton buds to choose from.
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The 4 Best Eco-Friendly Cotton Buds Of 2021
1. BAMBAW BAMBOO-STEMMED COTTON BUDS (200, 400, 800)
This is the very first brand of bamboo-stemmed cotton buds that I bought in November 2018 as I started my greener ear care.
The tips are made of 100% cotton, while the stems are of 100% bamboo. And they come in a box made of recycled paper. Thus, making them 100% biodegradable. And the package was sent to me by Amazon plastic-free!
Bambaw bamboo-stemmed cotton buds come in 3 options: 200 pieces, 400 pieces, and 800 pieces. I bought the one that comes in 400 pieces. And it lasted for more than a year of usage in our household of 2 adults constantly using them.
I am very contented with these cotton buds because they’re very sturdy, unlike the plastic-stemmed I used before that some stems bent due to excessive pressure.
2. NAVARIS BAMBOO-STEMMED COTTON BUDS (800)
This is the 2nd bamboo-stemmed cotton buds I purchased in November 2019, a month or so before the first batch of eco-friendly cotton buds I bought was about to be finished (making sure that I’m not running out of supply!).
Navaris bamboo-stemmed cotton buds come in a pack of 800 pieces. The tips are also made of 100% cotton, while the stems are of 100% bamboo.
It comes in a big box made of recycled paper with 4 smaller boxes inside with 200 pieces of cotton buds in each box. And it also came in a plastic-free package from Amazon.
The cotton buds are also sturdy and I am very satisfied with them. I like that I don’t have to keep on buying cotton buds every 2 months or so. We are still on our 3rd box after more than a year from the purchase date.
3. BAMBOOGALOO ORGANIC BAMBOO COTTON BUDS (1,000)
This is a very good choice for big families since these cotton buds are 1,000 pieces. It comes in a big box made of recycled paper with 5 small boxes inside with 200 pieces of cotton buds in each box. This will definitely last for a very long time even for a huge family.
According to the manufacturer, a UK family-run company, Bamboogaloo bamboo cotton buds are 100% natural and compostable and will biodegrade within 3-6 months if disposed of in the garden compost.
4. LASTSWAB REUSABLE COTTON SWABS
The reusable cotton swabs come in 2 different models: for general use and for beauty use.
LastSwab reusable swabs are made of a stiff, compact nylon core with flexible and soft medical silicone on each end. A single LastSwab is meant to replace 1000 single-use cotton swabs according to Last Object, the manufacturer of LastSwab.
The swab comes with a corn-based carry case (biodegradable) for safe storage after each use.
LastSwab reusable swabs can be easily cleaned with water and soap. They can also be sanitized by using rubbing alcohol. The manufacturer recommends using the basic version when dry for those with more liquid ear wax, and after a shower for those with firmer ear wax.
Are Bamboo Cotton Buds Biodegradable?
Bamboo cotton buds are made of 100% biodegradable materials. The tips are made of 100% cotton, while the stems are made of 100% bamboo.
How To Dispose of Bamboo Cotton Buds?
The bamboo cotton buds can be disposed of in the general garbage can, but ideally, they’re best thrown into the organic waste or compost container since they are 100% compostable. The packaging made of recycled paper can be thrown in the garbage container for papers.
The Plastic-stemmed Cotton Buds Ban
Plastic-stemmed cotton buds, along with plastic straws and plastic stirrers, are already banned in Scotland and England. It was also reported that the same plastic materials are going to be banned in Spain in July 2021. Hopefully, this will push through, and that many more countries are going to follow the lead.
Is The Switch Worth It Economically?
It is no denying that plastic-stemmed cotton buds are way cheaper than bamboo-stemmed ones. But despite the fact, I still believe that the switch is all worth it. Though it costs more, it’s more economical in the long run.
Before I made the switch, I used to buy a box of plastic-stemmed cotton buds with 100 pieces and I think it’s for .99 cents or 1€ (I can no longer remember the exact price). But 100 pieces only last for about 2 months (between my husband and me) because I used 1 to 2 cotton buds mindlessly EVERY SINGLE DAY! So, it means that I consumed 6 boxes in 12 months which is roughly 6€ a year.
The 800 pieces of Navaris bamboo-stemmed cotton buds I bought in December 2019 cost 10.99€. But we are still on the 3rd box, and the 4th box with 200 pieces is still unopened. And the switch has taught me to be mindful of my cotton bud usage.
I now use 1 cotton bud (max of 2) in one week, being mindful not to harm my ears with excessive “cotton bud” cleaning and being mindful of making our cotton bud supply last longer.
We spent a higher upfront cost at the beginning (which is true with other reusable/washable products), but it’s definitely cheaper in the long run and with the bonus of being environment-friendly.
Even if plastic-stemmed cotton buds are not yet banned in the countries where we live, but we can already go ahead and make the switch to an eco-friendly alternative, or even better: eliminate them at once.
A friendly reminder to all though: transitioning to a greener lifestyle is a journey. It is a slow process. We don’t have to compare our progress with others. We just have to do what we can no matter how little in making our environment a better place, one little step at a time.