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Image / Beauty

What are we going to do without cotton buds? The alternatives are here


By Aisling Keenan
11th Jun 2019
What are we going to do without cotton buds? The alternatives are here

Cotton buds are by definition, single-use. And as we know, single-use plastics are on their way out – no more plastic straws, right? But what are the options for cotton buds, those little beauty essentials?


I don’t know where I’d be without cotton buds. Always a bathroom mainstay, I’ve never not had them to hand. I use them to smear on my home eyebrow dye, to tidy up under-eye make-up mistakes and, of course, to clean bits of my ears that nothing else will reach – icky but true.

Help the planet

While yes, it’s a little less convenient to have to bring your metal/glass straw with you to restaurants, we’ve all just about gotten used to not using plastic straws. Likewise, we can adapt to cotton buds made from something biodegradable, like bamboo.

The below ones are great, and no matter where you dispose of them (a composter would be ideal, of course) they won’t cause damage to the environment.
cotton buds

Biodegradable cotton buds

€2.50 per pack of 100 from littlegreenshop.ie

Supporting a small Irish business while also supporting the planet? Yes please! These are the buds I buy now, instead of single-use ones. I’ve made the switch early, but the earlier you do, the better. Every little change makes a difference.

cotton buds

Natural bamboo cotton buds

€3 from Boobalou.co.uk

I’ve used these (in my ears!) and am happy to report they do the exact same job in the exact same way as plastic cotton buds.

cotton buds

The Humble Co eco-friendly cotton buds

€2.49 from EarthMother.ie

These have natural colouring added, don’t worry, and they are sustainably produced too. The bamboo is organically grown.


Read more: Disability, plastic straws and the planet

Read more: These brands are committed to saving our environment

Read more: One tampon takes longer to degrade than the lifespan of a woman

Photo from Unsplash