photo of some of the best eco-friendly cotton buds.

The 4 Best Eco-Friendly Cotton Buds Of 2023

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Are you already decided to ditch your plastic-stemmed cotton buds for an eco-friendly one? 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.

RELATED POST: Cotton Bud Alternatives – For A Low Waste Ear Care

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.

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The 4 Best Eco-Friendly Cotton Buds Of 2022

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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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 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 content with these cotton buds because they’re very sturdy, unlike the plastic-stemmed ones I used before when some stems bent due to excessive pressure.


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 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.


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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.


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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.

Eco-Friendly Cotton Buds FAQ

Here are answers to some of the frequently asked questions about eco-friendly cotton buds:

photo of bamboo-stemmed cotton buds - one of the best eco-friendly cotton buds.

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. 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 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 this 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.

Final Thoughts On The Best Eco-Friendly Cotton Buds

Even if plastic-stemmed cotton buds are not yet banned in the countries where we live, 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.

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  1. To tell you the truth, I never really thought of cotton swabs as being bad for the environment but now I can see why there are.  Even the paper stemmed cotton swabs, while more biodegradable, are not as sustainable as bamboo stems.  I’m definitely going to order some (but probably not the reusable one.  Yuck!)!  I use mine for far more than ears.  It’s good for crafts and cleaning small spaces as well!

    1. Hello Cynthia, I am glad that this article helped. I have the same reservations as the reusable one, but I am thinking of trying it next time, though.

  2.  Eco-Friendly Cotton Buds wow this is totally new to me. Everyone is doing the little they can to save the environment, avoiding unnecessary wastage. In my country we have stared using bio-gradable straws, food containers, reusable shopping bag. Thank you for a wonderful article on the 4 best eco-friendly cotton buds

    1. I agree Diana, we can all do something for the environment, no matter how small. Everyone doing small things is going to add up into something big.

  3. Holy crap! You have provided so much information that I was not expecting to get when I looked up bamboo products. We are really narrow down quite a bit of the details of each of these products. I really appreciate this, as someone who likes bamboo products I like what you post. Thank you so much for this great and amazing info

  4. I found your website interesting and informative. I never knew about reusable pantiliners or menstrual pads before. I am not sure it is the right way to go for me because of my circumstances,( no in home washer and dryer)  but if things change I will definitely look in to buying these feminine products.

  5. Hello, Eco-friendly products are taking off all over the world and it is great to see you on board with this.

    The article is very well written and is easy to follow, I think most people use these for cleaning out earwax which is not what they are intended for lol. 

    Overall a great read and a well-built website.

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