Cotton Swabs

Put in Garbage

Plastic Swabs Go in the Trash

If your cotton swabs are made from plastic, they must go in the trash.


Cardboard Is Compostable

If your cotton swabs are made from cardboard, they can be composted. Q-tip brand cotton swabs are compostable.


No Chemicals in the Compost

Do not compost cotton swabs used with chemicals such as nail polish remover.

Ways to Reduce

Choose Cardboard Over Plastic

Since plastic may never fully biodegrade, avoid disposable plastic items. Cardboard can biodegrade, so it is a more eco-friendly material.

Ways to Reuse

mascara brush

Use Cotton Swabs for Makeup & Cleaning

If you have leftover cotton swabs, use them to carefully apply cosmetics or clean keyboards and hair dryers. Find more ideas in Reader’s Digest.

Did You Know?

Cotton Swabs Are Not Designed to Go in Ears

Although it is their most common use, cotton swabs damage ears if inserted for cleaning earwax. Every package of cotton swabs contains a disclaimer warning against this use. Removing earwax can lead to infection and hearing problems. Learn more from the Washington Post.