Sainsbury’s has become the first UK retailer to publicly commit to the removal of ‘100%’ of plastics in its cotton buds. The move means the adhesive, which holds the cotton bud to the stem, will be replaced by a fully biodegradable substance that – unlike common strong adhesives – will be 100% free from plastic. The retailer said is already in talks to find a suitable replacement adhesive.
Last year, all the major supermarkets promised to remove plastic from their cotton buds following a campaign by environmental groups which highlighted the damage they do to marine life when washed out to sea via the sewage system.
At present common adhesives used on cotton buds are not biodegradable, and Sainsbury’s is the first retailer to pledge publicly to introduce a new biodegradable glue. The group added that once a practical solution has been found, its will share the details of the adhesive amongst the industry so that other producers can choose to make the switch.
The move comes after the retailer announced its plans to remove the plastic stems in the products, replacing them with a biodegradable paper option. Sainsbury’s has committed to changing the stem in 2017, and hopes to phase in the new biodegradable adhesive at the same time.
Each year, Sainsbury’s sells over 300 million own-brand cotton buds, with the revised products expected to remove over 50 tonnes of plastic from production.
Judith Batchelar, Director of Sainsbury’s Brand, said: “We’re always looking for ways to make our products more sustainable and switching to a biodegradable adhesive to our own brand cotton buds is a great example, furthering our promise to remove the plastic stems. Openness and sharing within the industry is going to be key in driving the uptake of sustainable choices, which is why we are committed to share the new biodegradable glue once it’s developed. This is more than making a competitive product, it’s doing what’s fundamentally right for the environment.”