In my country, most Q-tips come with a plastic stick – white or colored, opaque or translucent.
In the US I discovered an amazing invention: the paper stick.
[amusing historical fact: originally made of wood in the twenties, the sticks became paper in 1958, churned out by british machines that had been producing them for candies]
It seems so beautiful and minimal: just structural enough to be used once, fully compostable, no artificial colors, some even unbleached. Just fulfilling the need it was created for, no more, no less.
Made me suddenly realize the material overkill (‘unbreakable’?! – it’s a Q-tip!!) and polluting consequences of the former.
A huge environmental gap between 2 almost-identical objects, isn’t it?