Swapping plastic for paper – Johnson and Johnson’s bid to save the oceans

As of last Monday, Johnson and Johnson will no longer make their cotton buds with plastic in order to reduce the amount of plastic reaching the oceans. The plastic tubes will instead be replaced with cardboard. The new buds should be seen in shops within the next couple of weeks.

According to the Marine Conservation Society’s Great British Beach Clean, plastic cotton buds make up 60% of all sewage related beach litter, making them the most abundant piece of plastic found on our beaches. Dr Sue Kinsey at the Marine Conservation Society said “The amount of cotton bud sticks our volunteer beach cleaners have found on UK beaches have doubled since 2012 from an average of 11 to 24 for every 100 metres of beach cleaned”.

Fidra, Scottish environmentalists, have been campaigning for this change since 2013. Dr Clare Cavers from Fidra said “We commend Johnson & Johnson for leading this change in product material, it is an important part of the solution to the growing problem of plastic pollution in our seas”.

The Switch the Stick campaign has also led to 8 major retailers, including Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s and Boots, agreeing to stop selling plastic cotton buds by the end of 2017.

This is a great step in the right direction in terms of decreasing plastic pollution. However, only a very small rung on the ladder to achieving zero waste.

Remember the 3 P’s – only pee, poo and paper should go down the toilet.

Sources 

Knapton, S. (2017) Johnson & Johnson ditch plastic cotton buds to save oceans. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/02/13/johnson-johnson-ditch-plastic-cotton-buds-save-oceans/?WT.mc_id=tmg_share_tw (Accessed: 20 February 2017).

Let’s stop cotton bud pollution in the UK! Act now and sign the pledge TODAY #SwitchtheStick #PlasticPollution (2016) Available at: http://www.switchthestick.org (Accessed: 20 February 2017).

Photo credit – Switch the Stick

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