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Plastic Cotton Swabs to Be Banned in Scotland

Friday, January 12, 2018 11:44
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Wow, this is a new one and the viral ocean news of the week.

Scotland in an attempt to prevent beach litter on their beaches are proposing to ban the sale and manufacture of plastic cotton swabs. For those who do not live by water, you are probably thinking UH??? Well, in the summer in my little tide to towel beach clean up, it is very easy to pick up 10 Q-Tipped Swabs. They are in the streets and parking lots, if you can believe that.

For those who missed the National Geographic Picture of the Year with the Seahorse carrying a Cotton Swab.. (See here), you would understand why this is an issue.  

Scotland would be the first sector of the UK to make this ban. Roseanna Cunningham (Environmental Secretary) said, “…people are continuing to flush litter down their toilets and this has to stop. Scotland’s sewerage infrastructure collects and treats some 945 million liters of wastewater each day. These systems are not designed to remove small plastic items such as plastic buds, which can kill marine animals and birds that swallow them.

(BTW: you should not flush Cotton Balls, Paper Towels and Kleenex as well, as it clogs toilets.)

The final straw seemed to be the hundreds of plastic cotton swabs had washed up on Gullane Beach in East Lothian.

I Just Got To Eco You:

  • Plastic cotton buds are consistently listed in the top ten forms of beach litter in surveys by the Marine Conservation Society.
  • 3,500 plastic cotton swabs found on beaches across Scotland during its annual 2017 cleanup; That averages 29 for every 328 feet. (IFL Science)
  • 2016 Tyrrhenian coast of central Italy; plastic cotton bud sticks composed > 30% of the total amount of litter
  • France announced banning plastic cotton buds by 2020.
  • 2016 Johnson & Johnson, announced it plans to “end production of all plastic stick cotton buds by the end of the year” and replace them with paper sticks, starting with products sold in Europe.


Cotton Bud Project 

Switch The Stick 



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