The Cotton Bud Ban Is Coming – Here’s What To Use Instead

Natalie Gil

In April 2020, plastic straws, cotton buds and drink stirrers will be banned across England in an effort to tackle plastic pollution. The aim is to vastly reduce the amount of rubbish and damage caused by the 4.7 billion plastic straws, two billion cotton buds with plastic stems, and 300million plastic stirrers used in the UK each year, the government says. And it's about time too. The war against plastic straws has been rumbling on for a while, and many of us have already given them up and invested in a reusable metal straw or even a glass version – you could even say they're now "cool". But until now there's been less pressure to remove cotton buds from our beauty routines (or turn down the drink stirrers we're often pointlessly given with our cocktail or coffee).

Now though, the time has come to find ourselves some eco-friendly alternatives to plastic-heavy cotton buds, and luckily we've done the legwork for you. Click through for our pick of environmentally friendly replacements to save you from some common plights of modern life.



Tabitha Eve Organic Makeup Rounds, $, available at Wearth


Muji Thin Cotton Buds Refill x 200, $, available at Muji


The Humble Co Bamboo Cotton Swabs x 100, $, available at Holland & Barrett


Hydrophil Cotton & Bamboo Cotton Buds Pack of 100, $, available at andkeep.com


It's All About You Plastic Free Cotton Buds Made With Bamboo, $, available at It's All About You


Organyc Organyc Beauty Cotton Balls, 100 CT, $, available at Organyc


Organyc Beauty Cotton Round Pads, $, available at Organyc


The White Teeth Box Natural & Biodegradable Bamboo Toothbrush Single , $, available at The White Teeth Box

Maistic All Purpose Cloth - Pack of 8, $, available at The Plastic Free Shop

Bambaw Reusable Multi Purpose Wipes - 100% Organic Bamboo, $, available at The Plastic Free Shop

Tabitha Eve 2 x Organic Cotton None Sponges - Cool Blues, $, available at The Plastic Free Shop

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

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6 Brands Making Cool & Sustainable Tights

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