Plastic bags are on their way out, so are single-use straws. But, what’s next?
The cosmetics and hygiene industries are also responsible for the world’s plastic waste mountains. For example, every day 1.5 billion cotton swabs are produced and the average American uses 415 cotton swabs every year. In the UK damage is evident — for every 100 feet of beach, there are 9 cotton swabs.
In 2017, one of the finalists for Wildlife Photographer of The Year was Justin Hofman‘s heartbreaking image of a tiny sea-horse swimming in Borneo with a discarded cotton bud. The photo went viral and shone a light on the ugly situation that our oceans are in and the problem of single-use items.
One Kickstarter campaign has a solution. LastSwab has created the world’s first reusable cotton swab from medical silicone that comes in a biodegradable case.
The swabs come in two versions — one ridged for cleaning and one smooth for make-up touch-ups — and if cared for and cleaned properly, could be the last cotton swab you would ever need.
The idea for LastSwab came from three young designers from Denmark — Kåre Frandsen, a cabinet maker, Nicolas Aagaard, an industrial designer and Isabel Aagaard, a medical device designer.
Launched in 2018, they have now far exceeded their funding goal of $13,000 USD, raising around $600,000 USD and have been backed by almost 20,000 businesses and individuals. LastSwab comes at an opportune moment as the UK government has just announced that along with plastic straws and coffee stirrers, plastic stemmed cotton buds will also be banned as of April 2020.
Their product is now available on IndieGoGo but the team are currently facing IP problems, recently announcing that backers had spotted their product photos cropping up on Amazon and eBay with a cheaper made version of LastSwab.
Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber