It has been announced this week that as of April 2020, cotton buds will be banned in the UK.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove made the announcement as part of a wider strategy to reduce waste in the UK with bans on plastic straws and stirrers too.
As a drainage contractor, we are pleased that the government are doing something to reduce the wastage but also limiting the number of drainage blockages that are caused in the UK by cotton buds being put down the toilet or drains.
Not only is the plastic a real problem, but the cotton itself also gets clogged up and collects fats that go down the drain meaning that the drains are more likely to become blocked. Because they do not biodegrade, they collect in the pipes meaning they become restricted and can lead to huge pipe blockages and even cracked pipes.
Why do people not worry about them?
We don’t know what makes people think a plastic stick with cotton wool on either end belongs down the drain, but it happens all the time.
As well as this, cotton wool is often dropped into toilets or down drains. Both might disappear from view quite quickly, but like everything else on our list, they will soon become attached to other things lurking in your drain. These small bits can quickly join forces to create a mighty blockage. Because cotton buds are plastic sticks they can do even more damage as they get stuck in nooks and crannies or in the corners of pipework and are not easily dislodged. It might be possible to flush out lumps of cotton wool on their own, but cotton buds are much more stubborn!
Still got problems?
If you have been putting your cotton buds down the drain, it is important you stop doing this now. They will restrict the movement of waste down the pipes leading to a blockage. If you are unfortunate enough to already have a blockage, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our team today to discuss your specific issue, and begin unblocking works.