Scotland Aims to Ban the Sale of Plastic Cotton Buds

plastic cotton budsThe Scottish Government is to consult the public on proposals to ban the sale of plastic cotton buds.

The Great British Beach Clean Report 2017 showed that litter from take away eating and drinking made up 20% of beach litter picked up.

There was a 94% rise in the number of wet wipes found.

plastic litter

 Roseanna Cunningham, Environment Secretary in the Scottish Government said:

“Scotland’s sewerage infrastructure collects and treats some 945 million litres 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.

“These products are completely unnecessary as biodegradable alternatives are readily available. The need for action is clear and I would encourage everyone with an interest in safeguarding our natural environment  to take part in the consultation when it opens.”

Fidra a charity based in East Lothian state that plastic cotton bud stems make up 50% of sewage related items found on UK beaches with Scotland having the highest proportion.

“They have specifically been found in the digestive systems of seabirds and turtles, and in some cases have been directly responsible for the death of the animal involved, through internal damage.” Fidra

Alasdair Neilson project officer at Fidra which runs The Cotton Bud Project said:

“This progressive step will be welcomed by everyone who has seen cotton buds polluting our beaches and harming our wildlife. A ban would support the responsible businesses that have already removed this single-use plastic item from their shelves. Let’s hope it also marks a bigger shift in the way we use and value plastics.”

map of litter finds

Bathroom Checklist from Scottish Water

The waste water drain which runs from your house to the public sewer is usually about 4 inches wide, which is less than the diameter of a DVD.

Only flush pee, poo and toilet paper.

Everything else should go in the bin, not down your toilet – check out the bathroom checklist of ‘never flush’ items below:

  1. all wipes (baby, personal cleansing, toilet and household cleaning) – even if the pack says ‘flushable’
  2. sanitary items (sanitary towels, tampons, liners, applicators and backing strips;
  3. cotton wool, cotton buds, disposable nappies and nappy liners
  4. condoms, incontinence pads, colostomy bags, used bandages and contact lensesbathroom-checklist

7 replies »

  1. Prepare for rant about plastic bottles………..
    If a person needs a drink of water, in this country, they are fortunate enough to be able to get a glass, go to the sink, turn on the tap, and voila! they have a drink of water. Plastic bottles are very convenient for, for example, going walking or to a dance but – you can re-fill one, over and over again, and they last quite a long time before they disintegrate. Alternatively – get a purpose-made container, such as a sports drinks bottle. Still plastic, admittedly, but they last for a very long time indeed. Which, ironically is why plastic is becoming such a curse. The stuff just won’t go away. And if it’s burnt – that’s toxic!
    Fiona-Next-Door said two sound things about plastic. First, she said that she’d like to “dis-invent” it – go back so that it was never invented in the first place. Or, now that we’re stuck with it, if everyone stopped making it, and just re-used what’s already there. There is so much of the stuff, that there would be a supply for a long time, by which time we might have discovered something that is as durable and useful, but which is also bio-degradable – you never know, we are a very clever species. We don’t tend to look ahead very well, when we invent something, but we are clever and should learn from past mistakes. Well, maybe I’ll draw a veil over that one.

    And on the subject of the things which shouldn’t be flushed away – some years ago, we needed to get a plumber in, and, after hours of taking things to bits, and much head-scratching, he discovered a strange object, way down the pipes at the back of the toilet. We came to the conclusion that it must have been there for years. He said that “Nothing should go into a toilet, except what a toilet was made to take in the first place.” He was being polite, but I knew what he meant. And that’s it, in one sentence – nothing but water, and ………..

    • Bernie are you by any chance suggesting ‘manure’??? Anyway there are many valuable ‘plastics’ in use where for example would we be without plastics used in electrical insulation!

      As for a drink of water when out, in my younger days out on the hills in winter I’d scoop-up a handful of snow or in summer I’d drink from a burn or a loch. Aye and once further up the burn I found a dead ewe and I survived without any adverse consequences except maybe to build up my natural immunity to some germs/bacteria.

  2. Yes, it’s very, very useful – there’s just too much of it getting into the wrong places, and it doesn’t go away! That’s why I suggest re-use, as much as possible. There are machines which can do this, very efficiently – I know, as at one time I worked for a firm called John Brown’s Plastics Machinery which produced machines which did just that – turned used plastic into little pellets which could then be re-used. A GOOD THING.

    And yes, I used to drink from steams, too – but I wouldn’t chance it now! Germs is germs, and poisons is poisons!

    • But I did up last summer in the ‘Hidden Glen’ in Glencoe and I’m still here, LOL In truth it was very near where the spring emerged. Other than that I pay the same attention as you.

      • Probably the only place you can do that in Orkney is on the road down to Yesnaby

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