Scotland becomes first area in the UK to ban plastic cotton buds

They're not just dreadful for the environment but they can also cause a host of ear-related issues too

Scotland has banned plastic cotton ear buds

by Miranda Larbi |
Updated on

They might bring unbridled ear-centred pleasure but plastic cotton buds are a real environmental scourge.

Like many annoying plastic items like lollypop sticks, they either don’t break down at all and go on to choke birds and sea creatures, or they disintegrate into tiny particles which make their way into our food and water. Nice!

Which is why Scotland has just become the first place in the UK to ban them, with England set to follow suit from April next year.

In a statement, the Scottish government said the plastic cotton bud ban is "the latest step being taken to reduce reliance on single-use products".

Scotland's Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham added: "We are facing a global climate emergency and must all work together to reduce, reuse and recycle to ensure a sustainable future for the current and next generation."

It’s just the latest assault in the war against single-use plastic, with many festivals and shops ceasing the provision of things like disposable cups, straws and stirrers.

But what should you use to clean our your ears instead?

Well, the general medical advise is not to stick anything in your earholes anyway.

Sticking swabs in there just impacts earwax further into the ear canal, which can go on to cause pain and pressure.

Your ears are pretty good at cleaning themselves out; we produce wax as a way of removing any detritus from the canal. Fats and oils trap any particles and transport them out of the ear; most of the time, we don’t even notice that fall out.

Wax isn’t bad or something that you want to get rid of - it prevents infections and stops your ear from drying up.

The only reason you might want to clean them is to soften or remove that earwax from the outside of your ear canal - so that doesn’t mean sticking something an inch in.

All you have to do is get a warm, damp fennel and give your outer ear a gentle going over in the shower or bath - just cleaning to the entrance of the hole

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