LastSwab does contain plastic. Plastic is a very durable material, and this one swab replaces thousands of single-use swabs.
Paper swabs are ‘biodegradable,’ but unfortunately, most biodegradable items don’t biodegrade in a landfill. For something to properly break down, it needs many things, including light and air; tightly compacted in a landfill, they receive neither.
If you buried a paper swab in a landfill and go back five, ten, fifteen years, they still wouldn’t biodegrade. Even a banana peel, if left without light and air, would continue to be banana peel years later.
There is a more significant carbon footprint for the paper swabs when it comes to storage, transportation, and more.
As for production, the plastic swab might be better, not just because it is 1 swab and not 1,000, but also because with cotton and paper, you have to consider all the trees that have to be cut down. How are they logged? What fuel is used to transport them? How are the trees milled and turned into pulp for paper? Where does the bleach come from that’s used to get it so white?
Then there’s everything that goes into getting the cotton from the fields and what it takes to turn raw cotton into a swab.
Don’t forget the glue, or the plastic and cardboard for the case, or the ink printed on it.
Our relationship with waste is the problem, and we can move past this by adopting reusable items.