3. Feb, 2017

Cotton Buds

When I first saw these small plastic pieces on the beach I used to think that they were small straws. However, I soon learned that they are cotton buds and that millions of them are finding their way onto our beaches. This is just a handful I picked up during a 10 minute beach clean yesterday. Apparently the holes on the sewage screens are approx 4mm but as cotton buds are a mere 2mm they float right through. What people actually use cotton buds for these days remains a bit of a mystery to me. We are told not to put them in our ears or use them to clean wounds so what are people doing with them?  One thing is for sure, they are being flushed down the toilet in their millions. Whilst people need to stop flushing anything other than paper down the loo it is encouraging that M&S and John Lewis have now started to sell paper cotton buds that biodegrade. Tesco and Sainsbury are also following their lead and will introduce paper buds by the end of 2017. Hopefully the little blue straws on the beach will soon become a thing of the past. All we need now is for Scotland to introduce a bottle return/recycle scheme so we can start to make a real impact on the amount of plastic pouring into our seas.