Last Wednesday (May 22), the UK government made the decision to ban plastic cotton buds, straws, and stirrers, which will be brought into effect in April 2020. Despite this, it seems that brands like Johnson's are already one step ahead. I recently purchased their 200 bud pot without even realising they've already replaced the plastic stems with paper ones. The transition is as easy as that, so here's where to buy non-plastic cotton buds. And don't worry, there's plenty to choose from.
As Scottish environmental charity The Cotton Bud Project explains, if plastic cotton buds enter the sewage system after being flushed down the toilet, "they can persist indefinitely" after being broken down into smaller fragments and particles, and can "accumulate toxins from other sources of pollution in the sea, and may be eaten by a wide range of marine life." Obviously, one way to tackle this problem is to put cotton buds in the bin rather than the toilet, but another way to bypass the problem of those pesky plastic stems is by using alternative materials such as wood and paper.
Thankfully brands and their manufacturers are becoming more aware of this issue and are beginning to use these sustainable materials and trust me, you won't notice the difference.