Scotland has become the first UK country to outlaw the polluting products.
Scotland has become the first country in the UK to ban the sale and manufacture of plastic-stemmed cotton buds.
The move comes following a consultation which found the personal hygiene product made up between five and 10% of all marine debris in European seas.
According to the Marine Conservation Society, the buds are also regularly listed in the top 10 items found by beach cleanup teams.
Since the ban was announced, most manufacturers have switched to making cotton buds from biodegradable paper.
Lang Banks, director of environment charity WWF Scotland, welcomed the ban.
He said: “It’s great news for wildlife that Scotland has become the first country in the UK to ban plastic-stemmed cotton buds.
“Cotton buds are some of the most pervasive forms of marine pollution so a ban is very welcome and a step and one that we hope other countries will follow. We know plastic is suffocating our seas and devastating our wildlife with millions of birds, fish and mammals dying each year because of the plastic in our oceans.
“Plastics are also finding their way into the food we eat and the water we drink so saving our oceans will require further ambitious action from governments, industry and consumers.”
Fidra, the Scottish charity which campaigns to reduce plastic waste and chemical pollution, has been lobbying for a ban on plastic cotton buds since 2013.
The charity’s cotton bud project officer, Jasper Hamlet, said: “This ban marks the beginning of the end for plastic cotton bud pollution and is a fantastic step towards tackling unnecessary single use plastic.
“The ban will no doubt be welcomed by all those who have seen cotton buds polluting our beaches, and by those of us involved in making this a reality; from big businesses who made the switch from plastic to paper, to consumers who have supported plastic alternatives and to Great British Beach Clean volunteers who logged thousands of washed up cotton buds.
This legislation is an important part of changing the way we use and value plastics. We hope it is the first of many more concrete actions towards tackling plastic pollution in Scotland and beyond”