the right cotton swab

Sunday, August 7, 2011

In my country, most Q-tips come with a plastic stick - white or colored, opaque or translucent.

Q-tips with PVC stick

In the US I discovered an amazing invention: the paper stick.
[amusing historical fact: originally made of wood in the twenties, the sticks became paper in 1958, churned out by british machines that had been producing them for candies]

It seems so beautiful and minimal: just structural enough to be used once, fully compostable, no artificial colors, some even unbleached. Just fulfilling the need it was created for, no more, no less.

Paper stick Q-tips - photograph by DragonWoman

Made me suddenly realize the material overkill ('unbreakable'?! - it's a Q-tip!!) and polluting consequences of the former.

A huge environmental gap between 2 almost-identical objects, isn't it?


  1. I don't like the plastic ones either, they always looked cheap & silly!!

    Go paper!

  2. Skip the Q-tips and use an ear wax loop. It is a special tool made just for removing excess ear wax. A doctor gave me one 25 years ago and it is still going strong. Have never bought a Q-tip in all those years.

  3. This makes me remember that my family had a lovely ear wax spoon at home, which was a beautiful thin instrument sculpted out of wood or bamboo.