Still no ban on plastic stemmed cotton buds

Photography Credit: Motion Array - Pressmaster

The UK government made plans to ban plastic stemmed cotton buds in early 2018, but only Scotland has been able to put the ban in place late 2019.

Plastic stemmed cotton buds, along with plastic straws and drink stirrers, should have been banned since April 2020. The UK Government has decided to extend this deadline to October because of the impact the corona virus outbreak has had on businesses all over the country.

I don't know what your opinion is on this, but I'm pretty sure that these businesses already had plans in place to restock with alternative products and the plastic producers must be absolutely thrilled right now - they really should just get a go on and start producing compostable versions.


We use 5 million cotton buds every day in the UK and it's estimated that 10% of these are flushed down the toilet. What is it with people flushing all these items down?!

Even if the buds aren't made of plastic you can't recycle cotton buds, but you can compost the ones NOT made of plastic: if the stems are made of paper, cotton or bamboo, you're good to go - IF you haven't used any hard chemicals on it. A little bit of make-up and ear wax are okay, but nail polish should not be composted.


Looking for alternatives? Read my reviews on Paper stemmed buds and the reusable Lastswab.