ban on cotton buds

The ban on cotton buds made from plastic should have come into force in April but was postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The delayed ban on cotton buds, plastic straws and stirrers has come into legislation today in the Government’s latest step towards tackling pollution caused by single-use plastics. The new rules were supposed to have been put in place back in April, but due to the impact that Coronavirus has had, it was pushed back to October. Environment Secretary George Eustice has said that “The ban on straws, stirrers and cotton buds is just the next step in our battle against plastic pollution and our pledge to protect our ocean and the environment for future generations.”

It is hoped that this will enormously reduce the litter and environmental impacts. According to government figures, 4.7 billion plastic straws that are currently used and thrown away in the UK every year. Along with those are more than 300 million plastic drink stirrers and almost 1.8 billion cotton buds with plastic stems.

So, what does this ban on cotton buds and other plastic items mean for us in the beauty industry?

What does the ban on cotton buds mean for us?

The official ban means that it will now be illegal for business to sell or supply these single-use plastic items in order to tackle the pollution being caused by them. Restaurants, retailers and other businesses will not be able to hand out or make profit on plastic straws, cotton buds or drink stirrers. How will this affect the beauty industry?

Cotton buds are used throughout the beauty world on a daily basis. Getting your brows waxed, your nails done, or even within your own at-home makeup routine when fixing that ever difficult winged eyeliner. In fact, you probably use them more than you realise. Going forward, professionals, and all of us at home, will need to find alternative solutions to the plastic sticks that have caused our planet to suffer. Don’t worry, there are plenty!

What to do with the cotton buds in your cupboard

The most sustainable thing you can do is to finish what you’ve got before buying a new alternative in order to not waste any. It might well be tempting to bin them straight away and jump to a more eco-friendly alternative, but its actually far better to use up what you have already before you shop for more. This doesn’t just go for the ban on cotton buds, but if you’re trying to live a more sustainable and organic life, the key is to ensuring that you don’t waste anything. Be it your foundation, moisturiser, or even your clothes; use it and wear it until you truly can’t anymore. Then replace it.

What can we use instead?

Luckily, there are already a whole range of alternative products that you can use. Brands have developed various cotton buds that don’t require the use of plastic. These have been replaced with the likes of bamboo. This means if you really need your cotton bud fix, you can still get it.

How to apply your beauty products going forward

Once you’ve used up all your cotton buds and other single-use techniques (don’t skip on this!), you might be wondering how to move forward in an eco-friendly way. There are plenty of substitutes for you to try out.

Reusable cloths are one of the easiest and main ways to do this. With a little bit of care and precision, these widely-used cloths that can be popped in your weekly wash will do just the trick when it comes to amending your makeup mishaps. They’re also great for removing makeup and cleansing. If you haven’t already stocked up, they’re a great all-round product that is incredibly friendly to our planet.

Instead of using cotton buds for your brows or your eyeliner, why not shop specific brushes to help out. An alternative to your nail mishaps are the likes of nail scrubbers which allow you to fix even the messiest of fingers! You can also switch up products so that you can use them in the shower, for example an in-shower cleanser will mean you don’t need to use any kind of cloth at all!

There are many ways around this so that you can live a more sustainable and eco-friendly life, much of which revolves around stepping away from our daily habits. We’re so used to using these single-use products as a means of convenience, but its never been easier to re-use and recycle just about anything.

Shop our eco-friendly brands.

We have recently launched a collection of Conscious Beauty products on Indulge Beauty. Within that comes a whole range of eco-friendly brands and products. Shop the full collection here, and discover some of our favourite products below.

All prices are correct as of date published.

Feature image: Karolina Grabowska from Pexels