Pledges Help Stop Cotton Bud Marine Pollution

Better Buds is a community group founded in Warrnambool, Victoria. Their goal is to ban all plastic stem cotton buds in Australia, and they hope to achieve that through their Better Buds Campaign.

According to their site, the plastic stems of cotton buds are often flushed down the toilet, where they enter the marine environment through sewage ocean outfalls. Over the last two years, Warrnambool volunteers have collected over 20,000 of them.

“Cotton buds are an insidious problem,” says Better Buds campaign spokesperson, Colleen Hughson. “They are one of the biggest polluters of our beaches but, like most marine pollution, they are out of sight and therefore out of mind for most people.”

The group are calling on the Australian Government to follow the lead shown by the UK and Europe and include plastic-stemmed cotton buds in a wider ban on single-use plastics.

“Cotton buds are used for only seconds, but they aren’t recyclable, and they last a lifetime,” says Ms. Hughson. “There have been times I’ve collected thousands in a single day.”

With sustainable alternatives, made from paper and bamboo, readily available in stores across the country, the group argues that there is no place for plastic-stemmed cotton buds in Australia.
“We want plastic-stemmed cotton buds off our shelves and off our beaches,” says Ms Hughson.

Better Buds has recently launched its Better Buds campaign to raise awareness of the problems that plastic cotton bud sticks cause in the environment. If you’d like to help, you can join the #BetterBudsPledge, whose members commit to using only sustainable alternatives.

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