Today the government announced it would be banning plastic straws, cotton buds and drink stirrers in England from April next year, when they will only be available to people with medical needs or a disability. The aim is to vastly reduce the amount of rubbish and damage caused by the 4.7bn plastic straws, 2bn cotton buds with plastic stems, and 300m plastic stirrers used in the UK each year, the government says. And it's about time too. The war against plastic straws has been rumbling on for a while, and many of us have already given them up and invested in a reusable metal straw or even a glass version – you could even say they're now "cool". But until now there's been less pressure to remove cotton buds from our beauty routines (or turn down the drink stirrers we're often pointlessly given with our cocktail or coffee).
Now though, the time has come to find ourselves some eco-friendly alternatives to plastic-heavy cotton buds, and luckily we've done the legwork for you. Click through for our pick of environmentally friendly replacements to save you from some common plights of modern life.