Zoe Moore is an associate social media producer for "Good Morning America" who decided to switch to a reusable cotton swab for a week and documented her experience along the way.
Cotton swabs are something I use every single day and never thought twice about throwing out -- until now.
When I saw a reusable cotton swab called Last Swab on Facebook, in an effort to reduce my footprint, I decided to try it out.
What is the Last Swab?
The Last Swab claims to be the world’s first reusable cotton swab.
It first got big on Kickstarter and is meant to replace over 1,000 cotton swabs. "Every year, trillions of single-use plastic products are consumed and thrown away -- often ending up on the beaches and in the oceans harming marine life. By purchasing LastSwab you are helping reduce harmful waste impacting our environment," the company writes on its website.
The swab, which sells for $12, is made of a stiff nylon rod, thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) and polylactic acid (PLA). To clean it, you are instructed to wash it with soap and water.
My usual routine
I try to be environmentally conscious by using reusable bags and carrying my own water bottle, but I had never considered the waste I'm creating from cotton swabs.
I did the math. Since I use about three cotton swabs per day -- for things like cleaning my ears, doing my makeup and taking off nail polish -- this means I use over 1,000 cotton swabs in a year.
Based on their claims of 1,000 uses, the Last Swab could replace all of the cotton swabs I throw out in an entire year.
When I first opened the Last Swab it felt super strange.
The swab is the same size as a typical cotton swab, but feels like plastic.
The ends are textured instead of smooth for what I assume is easier cleaning.
Because the swab is plastic it isn't absorbent, I was skeptical if it would be as effective as a cotton swab.
When it comes to cleaning your ears, the Last Swab did the trick.
It was able to clean my ears just like a disposable cotton swab would.
However, for things like taking off nail polish, I found it didn't work as well.
Another thing to note is that you have to make sure you are washing the Last Swab between uses.
I found this a little annoying and slightly more time consuming.
While I don't think it will completely eliminate my use of cotton swabs, it will help me cut back. I'm definitely going to change my habits and I plan to continue to use it.
The week-long experience of using a reusable cotton swab made me more conscious of the waste I am throwing out every week. Now I'm on the hunt for the next reusable beauty product that will help me become more environmentally friendly.