Telegraph logo 2

PRESS - The Telegraph, 4 March 2016.

A change from plastic to paper to help marine life.


Thursday, 03 March 2016 17:20

Best buddies help marine life

Cotton bud brand leader Johnson & Johnson and UK retailer Waitrose are committing to cut plastics from their cotton bud lines to reduce marine plastic pollution.

Visit the beach and you may well find yourself scanning the strandline for that perfect pebble or shell, only to find a litter of man-made objects amongst the natural debris. In the tangles of seaweed are lots of little plastic sticks, often mistaken for lollipop sticks or straws, but actually the remains of some of the hundreds of thousands of cotton buds flushed down toilets every week in the UK. 

Because of their size and shape, plastic cotton bud sticks slip through the screens of wastewater treatment systems, wash into rivers and seas, and end up on our beaches. On one Scottish beach, 13,500 plastic cotton buds sticks were found by Marine Conservation Society Beachwatch volunteers in a single visit. Not only do they look bad; they are also an indicator of a public health risk as cotton buds mark the trail of sewage from bathroom to beach.

These plastic sticks are a danger to marine life as well and have been found in the stomachs of fulmars and loggerhead turtles. Damage to internal organs can result in the death of the animal involved. In addition, plastics in the ocean act like a sponge for chemical pollutants such as pesticides.  Toxins which may be present at low amounts in the water can build up to high levels on plastics as they are soaked up from the surrounding sea.                                             

Fidra, an environmental charity based in Scotland, is liaising with manufacturers and retailers of plastic cotton buds, encouraging them to consider changing their materials from plastic to a fully biodegradable alternative such as paper.  The charity is delighted by the resultant decision of leading manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and retailer Waitrose, to phase out the plastic in their own brand cotton buds and move to paper by the end of 2016. As these companies are leading the way on cutting back on this plastic problem, Fidra is recognising their example, aiming to add them to their Good Buddy List of Friendly Cotton Bud brands once the change is made. 

‘Plastic in our seas is a major pollution problem. Better materials are out there and the more we use them the closer we are to a cleaner ocean’ said Dr Clare Cavers, of Fidra, adding ‘This is an excellent example of major brands taking a lead and we hope that many more companies will follow soon.’

Even paper cotton buds should be disposed of responsibly with household waste.  However, if they do end up in the sewage system they stand a much greater chance of becoming waterlogged and settling out of the wastewater stream, never making it to our beaches. The public can take The Cotton Bud Project pledge to show their support for using fully biodegradable cotton buds. 

Thursday, 18 February 2016 16:48

Terms and Conditions

Written by

Use of this website is provided subject to the following Terms and Conditions:

Your use constitutes acceptance of these terms and conditions.
We reserve the rights to change these terms and conditions at any time by posting changes online. Your continued use of this site after changes are posted constitutes your acceptance of this agreement as modified.

Lawful and appropriate use
You agree to use this site only for lawful purposes, and in an appropriate manner which does not infringe the rights, or restrict, or inhibit the use and enjoyment of the site by any third party.

Own risk
This site and the information, names, images, pictures, logos regarding or relating to us, our activities and this website are provided "as is" without any representation or endorsement made and without warranty of any kind whether express or implied. We are not liable for any damages including, without limitation, indirect or consequential damages, or any damages whatsoever arising from the use or in connection with such use or loss of use of the site, whether in contract or in negligence.

We do not warrant that the functions contained in the material within this site will be uninterrupted or error free, that defects will be corrected, or that this site, or the server that makes it available, are free of viruses or bugs or represents the full functionality, accuracy and reliability of the materials.

Commercial use or publication of all or any item displayed is strictly prohibited without our prior express authorisation in writing. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license by us to use any item displayed.

Documents may be copied for personal use only on the condition that copyright and source indications are also copied, no modifications are made and the document is copied entirely. However, some documents and photos have been published on this site with the permission of the relevant copyright owners. All rights are reserved on these documents and permission to copy them must be requested from the copyright owners (the sources are indicated within these documents/photographs).

Third parties
We take no responsibility for the content of external Internet sites. Other websites that we link to are owned and operated by third parties and we have no control over them. The fact that we include links to other websites does not mean that we approve of or endorse any other third party website or the content of that website. We accept no liability for any statements, information, products or services that are published on or are accessible through any websites owned or operated by third parties.

Public areas
Any communication or material that you transmit to, or post on, any public area of the site including any data, questions, comments, suggestions, or the like, is, and will be treated as, non-confidential and non-proprietary information.

Conflict of terms
If there is any conflict between these terms and conditions and rules and/or specific terms of use appearing on this site relating to specific material then the latter shall prevail.

Law and Jurisdiction
These terms and conditions shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of Scotland. Any disputes shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Scottish Courts.


Thursday, 18 February 2016 16:38

Privacy Policy

Written by

We are committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. This Privacy Notice explains when and why we collect your personal data, and how we use it and keep it secure.

Questions or complaints

Any questions or complaints regarding our privacy practices should be directed to our Data Protection Officer by email, letter or phone –

letter icon This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
open letter icon Fidra SCO43895, 25 Westgate, NORTH BERWICK, EH39 4AG
phone icon 01620 895677

The Information Commissioner's Office ('ICO') is an independent public body that promotes and upholds data privacy. You may seek advice and assistance from the ICO or make a complaint to the ICO  –

screen icon
letter icon This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
phone icon 0303 123 1113

How do we collect personal data about you?

We obtain personal data about you when you contact us, subscribe to our newsletters, participate in our projects, visit our website and apply for work with us.

What type of personal data is collected about you?

The personal data we collect will be your name, address, email address, and occasionally your place of work.If you apply for work we will also collect personal data about your previous experience, education, and referees.You may ask us to disclose the personal data we store about you.

How is your personal data used?

We may use your personal data to:

  • Fulfil our contractual and other legal obligations;
  • Seek your views on or input to our projects;
  • Send you information that you have requested;
  • Assess your suitability for appointment.

What is the lawful basis of our processing of your data?

We have audited our processing activities having regard to: the groups of individuals whose data is processed; the types of data; the recipients of that data; the processing purposes; the retention strategy and the security measures.

The lawful basis of our processing is that it is–

  • necessary to fulfil our legal obligations or our contractual obligations with you,
  • necessary to further our legitimate interests which outweigh any privacy impact that is neither intrusive nor unexpected, or
  • consented to by you on an explicit and informed basis

How is your personal data stored?

We are committed to taking all reasonable and appropriate steps to protect misuse, loss, or unauthorised access to your personal data. We do this by having in place a range of appropriate technical and organisational measures including effective password protection and encryption.

How long is your personal data stored?

We will hold your personal data on our systems for no longer than is necessary for the relevant obligation or activity. Subject to any legal obligations we may have, you may ask us to delete any personal data we store about you.  The personal data you provide during a job application will be destroyed 1 year after the recruitment exercise.

Who has access to your personal data?

We are a small organisation of less than 10 employees who have received training on respecting data privacy and protecting data security. Your personal data is only accessed and used by those employees where it is necessary to fulfil the duties of their role. We will not sell or rent your personal data to third parties.

Third party service providers (e.g. IT or payroll) may have access to your personal data on a strictly confidential basis and only in fulfilment of their contractual obligations to us.

How you can control the personal data we hold about you?

In respect of any personal data we hold about you have the right to request:

  • a copy of that data;
  • recitification of any inaccurate or incomplete data;
  • erasure of that data where there is no legitimate interest or consent is withdrawn.

Employment with us

If you are employed by us we may also collect the following personal data during the course of your employment with us: details of your remuneration; your date of birth; your emergency contact details; the duration and cause of any sick leave; your bank account details.

We recognise that this is may be sensitive personal data which merits the following additional protections –

  • Processing is necessary in furtherance of employment law rights and obligations.
  • It is stored securely using encryption.
  • It is accessed only by our Directors and Office Manager
  • It is destroyed 6 years after the termination of your employment with us.


When someone visits we use a third party service, Google Analytics, to collect standard internet log information and details of visitor behaviour patterns but not personally identifiable information. Further information on Google's data privacy and security can be found here:

If you wish to prevent your data from being used by Google Analytics, Google have developed the Google Analytics opt-out browser add-on for the Google Analytics JavaScript (ga.js, analytics.js, dc.js).If you want to opt out, download and install the add-on for your web browser. The Google Analytics opt-out add-on is designed to be compatible with Chrome, Internet Explorer 11, Safari, Firefox and Opera. In order to function, the opt-out add-on must be able to load and execute properly on your browser. For Internet Explorer, 3rd-party cookies must be enabled. Learn more about the opt-out and how to properly install the browser add-on here

Our website uses cookies. Cookies are small pieces of information sent by an organisation to your computer and stored on your hard drive to allow that website to recognise you when you visit. They collect statistical data about your browsing actions and patterns but do not identify you as an individual. It is possible to switch off cookies by setting your browser preferences.

This Privacy Notice does not apply to links to other websites and you should consider their privacy notices.

Social Media

We use third party providers, Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin, to host our social media interactions. This Privacy Notice does not apply to them and you should consider their privacy notices.

Children and vulnerable adults

If you are aged 16 or under, please obtain your parent/guardian's prior permission before disclosing personal data.

If you are a vulnerable adult, please obtain independent guidance before disclosing personal data.

Thursday, 12 November 2015 09:19

About Us

Written by

Fidra set up the Cotton Bud Project in 2013 to stop marine pollution from plastic stemmed cotton buds. We used scientific research, citizen science data and best practice to establish dialogue with industry, the public and governments to influence positive environmental change at national and international levels.  

For more information on this project or any of Fidra’s ongoing work, please sign up to our newsletter by following this link.

Fidra is a Scottish registered charity and SCIO no.SCO43895 visit to find out more about our work to end chemical and plastic pollution.

Page 5 of 5

View Desktop
View Mobile