Disclaimer: Last Object sent us these products in exchange for an honest review. We were NOT paid to review these products as we believe that receiving monetary compensation changes the nature of the review. All opinions shared here are all our own.
Welcome to our Last Object review, where we will give our honest opinions and thoughts on using all of Last Objects zero waste products. That means this is a Last Swab review, Last Round review, and Last Tissue review, all in one handy post.
Use our handy table of contents to find what you’re looking for:
Table of Contents
About Last Object
Danish designer Isabel Aagaard started Last Object in 2018, launching the first product, Last Swab, in 2019. The Danes have been known for their sleek, functional design AND eco-consciousness for decades, so it’s no surprise that Last Object originates there.
Last Object’s mission is to eliminate single use items by providing sustainable, functional alternative products. In this Last Object review, we’ll be going over their suite of products, all of which are in the personal hygiene space. It makes sense to start with personal hygiene, since single use items proliferate here, both for convenience and because of perceived extra cleanliness over reusable items. However, the science tells us that reusables aren’t the problem when it comes to both covid-19 transmission or other diseases and viruses. The key to safe reuse of any product?
Wash it with soap and water. What a shocker! 😉
Now that we’ve got that out of the way…Last Object is not only concerned with the trash created by single use items, but the waste and lack of sustainability throughout the manufacturing process. As the company highlights, materials like paper, cotton, and plastic are in high demand due to their utility in single use products, leading to unsustainable practices to meet that demand. This includes deforestation, pesticide use, leaching of fossil fuels into the ground, and (unfortunately) much more.
The team has considered every aspect of the design, manufacturing, and shipping process to make it as sustainable as possible. This includes using plant based plastics, recycled ocean plastic, and organic cotton to craft their durable products. Each Last Object product mitigates 10x the environmental footprint of their single use alternatives measured as carbon emission. Last but certainly note least, Last Object manufactures in Denmark and China, only working with factories that have ethical audit certificates.
Last Object Review: Shipping
Let’s start with the purchaser’s first introduction to Last Object. Unfortunately, so many “zero” or “low waste” companies ship using plastic bags, giant unnecessary boxes, and include unnecessary pamphlets.
Happily, Last Object lives up to their ethos by shipping without any plastic or unnecessary packaging. I appreciated that the instructions were printed on the recyclable cardboard cases that each product came in. Now that’s thoughtful, low waste design. Along with the instructions, the cardboard packaging details the amount of waste that you’re saving for that item. So you may want to read them before recycling!
Last Object ships for free when your order is over $50. Yes, that may feel like a lot to spend on zero waste products at once. But you can easily meet that number if you purchase a zero waste kit with the full suite of items or buy some gifts for some sustainability minded friends. Also keep in mind that while the up front cost of reusable items may be more, over time you’ll save so much money by not having to continuously buy single use alternatives.
If your order is under $50, shipping will depend on the size of your order and if you choose express shipping or not.
By the way, if you’d rather not pay for shipping, Last Object’s products are available in a small number of stores. Check their store locator to see if there is one near you.
Last Swab Review: Basic Reusable Q-Tip
Last Swab was the first product that Last Object released (in 2019), and is the product that put the company on the map. I’m guessing that you may have ended up on this post looking for a Last Swab review, so let’s start here.
Remember the photo that went viral a few years ago with a seahorse’s tail wrapped around a q-tip in the ocean? Wildlife photographer Justin Hofman snapped the photo and suddenly, a wider audience realized the devastating effects of ocean pollution and q-tip pollution in particular.
Last Swab aims to be part of the solution as a reusable cotton swab or reusable Q-Tip. There are now two versions of Last Swab, the Basic and the Beauty. The Basic version is a reusable q-tip like the ones you’d use to clean your ears. The Beauty version is a reusable cotton swab for applying and touching up makeup (Last Swab review of beauty in the following section). The swab ends are made of Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), a rubber like material and the case is made of either a plant based material or recycled ocean plastic.
When first thinking about using a reusable q-tip, you might be thinking “that’s gross” and I don’t blame you. I definitely thought the same when I first heard of the concept. After all, even though every cotton swab box tells you explicitly NOT to stick them in your ears, what else do we all use them for? And why would I ever stick a q-tip with earwax on it back in my ears?
But I also had the same reaction when I first heard of the concept of a menstrual cup. Several friends kept telling me how great they were, but I resisted for years, put off by the idea of a reusable menstrual product. But then I got my first menstrual cup in 2017 and saw the light! I’m still evangelical about spreading the word on how amazing they are. So with that in mind, I was willing to give reusable swabs a try.
Last Swab Quick Specs
- 6 color options, named after sea animals
- Replaces 1000 cotton swabs
- Biodegradable (corn-based) carry case
My next concern (and likely yours) was….just how effective are reusable swabs? In theory it’s great to use a swab again and again (after washing it, of course), but if it doesn’t work, then there’s no point.
I’ll be honest here: using the Last Swab does take a bit of getting used to. But again, I brought myself back to my experience with using a menstrual cup. It took me a solid few cycles (aka several months) to get truly use it correctly. So I persevered with the Last Swab as well.
The biggest difference between a Last Swab and a regular cotton swab is that Last Swab has spherical bumps on the part that goes in your ear (see photos). It was weird at first but I quickly got used to it, and that part I don’t mind. The other main difference is part user preference. I usually use cotton swabs after taking a hot shower, when my ears are wet and wax or buildup is looser. A regular cotton swab simultaneously dries and cleans your ears. The Last Swab cleans your ears, but doesn’t dry them. Also, you’ll need to wash your Last Swab immediately after use (just use some gentle soap and water), which of course you don’t need to do with throwaway swabs.
At first, since my ears were still wet after using the Last Swab, I thought that the Last Swab wasn’t working. But then I tried swabbing my ears with a cotton swab after using Last Swab, and my ears were definitely cleaned by Last Swab! They were clean but still a bit wet from the shower. So that’s a heads up for all of those post-shower swabbers. I’ll have to admit that this is my least favorite part of the Last Swab, but again, it just takes some getting used to.
IMPORTANT (again for shower swabbers): DO NOT store your Last Swab in the shower. My partner, Veren, did and it weakened the swab to the point where it ended up breaking (he also swabs really hard). I reached out to Last Object only after I realized he’d been storing it in the shower, and Last Object concurred NOT to store it in the shower. I keep mine next to the bathroom sink and it’s been perfectly fine there. Also, don’t put Last Swab in the dishwasher or boil it. Anything that adds too much moisture or heat will degrade it.
It’s also key to note that although it’s called Last Swab, it’s not actually the last swab you’ll ever use. Each Last Swab is designed to replace over 1000 single use cotton swabs, meaning you’ll have to buy another one eventually. Of course, that depends on how often you use it. If you use it every day, you should get about 3 years of life out of it, and even more if you don’t use it every day. You’ll extend the longevity by careful care, washing and drying gently after each use, and storing it properly. You could also purchase a couple of Last Swabs and rotate them, but that’s not really necessary: you only need one Last Swab at a time!
Last Swab Review: Beauty Reusable Cotton Swab
The Beauty Last Swab is the second type of reusable cotton swab that Last Object offers. It’s designed to replace using cotton swabs to touch up makeup. To be honest, this was the product that I’ve used the least of all Last Object’s products. I don’t wear much make up in normal times (just eyeliner and lipstick for special occasions). Plus, we’re all rarely going out these days, and when we do, half our face is covered with a mask. I know some people get dressed up for Zoom calls, but I just can’t find it within myself to do that. All that is to say that I am no makeup artist, so your mileage will vary with using the beauty version of last swab.
You can add a mirror to your Last Swab Beauty purchase for $3, which I definitely recommend for touch ups on the go. Just remember to take off the protective sheet before adhering it to your Last Swab case. The Last Swab beauty version comes in a plant-based case made from fermented plant starch like corn, sugarcane, cassava, or sugar beet pulp. Plants are amazing!
As for the Last Beauty Swab itself, I really liked it when I used it to touch up my eyeliner and lipstick. It was very soft on the skin and smooth to use. It worked exactly as I expected it would, so there’s not much else to say here! I’ll keep adding to this portion of this Last Swab review, because I’m sure as things open up I might wear makeup more often when headed out. I’ll just have to find some vegan and ethical makeup to test it out on, because I don’t own much!
Last Tissue Review
Tissues are another area with massive amounts of waste. According to the packing that Last Tissue arrives in, 51 million tissues are used DAILY in the U.S. According to this disturbing article at Tissue World Magazine, where the companies are discussing the economic positives (for them, tissue companies) of the growing tissue market, North Americans consume 26 kg (57 lbs) of tissues a year. And Statista backs it up. That’s such a crazy amount that it’s hard to even fathom. Luckily, there’s such a better way.
Last Tissue Quick Specs:
- Comes with 6 tissues
- Tissues can be machine washed up to 520 times each
- Case is dishwasher safe
- Currently available in turquoise, blue, red, green, black, and peach
- Medical-grade silicone case
- Slit at bottom of case (put dirty tissues here)
When our Last Object package arrived in early February here in Buffalo, New York, the product that I was most excited to try out was Last Tissue. It’s the height of sniffle and runny nose season, made infinitely worse from having to wear a mask. (Of course, I fully am on board with WHY we must wear masks, but that doesn’t make them any less annoying).
My first impression of the Last Tissue box was how super soft smooth and silky it is. Say that three times fast. But it’s really true. The silicone box is so nice that as I write this post, I keep reaching over to pet it.
Okay, so the case is nice. But what good would a soft box be if the tissues themselves were scratchy?
I’m happy to report that Last Tissues are soft too! Soft yet strong to last. This is important to note, because zero waste products are only as good as their reusability. That’s kind of the point. If something disintegrates after one or two washes, then it’s not any better than a disposable product. In fact, the use of resources would probably be worse than a disposable product! So keep that in mind when looking into your zero waste products.
While we’re discussing reusability, now is a good time to mention that yes, instead of getting Last Tissues, you could have a bunch of reused handkerchiefs and put them in a small carry case. This would technically be more low waste friendly, as it’s reusing things that you already have, and of course it would be cheaper than purchasing another item.
But let’s be real. Not everyone is that DIY. I know I’m not! I don’t own a sewing machine (kinda hard to travel with in our lives as digital nomads), nor would I know my way around one anyways.
I DIY a lot of items, from deodorant to kombucha, but there are just some things that just aren’t practical for me personally and the lifestyle that I lead. Sewing and fabric reuse is one of those things and I know I’m not alone. Plus, I have to say that I found tremendous value and practicality in the Last Tissue box. Before getting Last Tissues, I had one handkerchief, a gift from my partner Veren’s great-aunt. I RARELY remembered to bring it with me when we went out, and I never knew where it was in the house when I wanted it. Whenever I did remember it, half the time it was dirty as I’d forgotten to wash it.
With the Last Tissue box, I keep it in my tote bag or coat pocket so I always have an ample supply of tissues when we’re out. At home, I have a tissue or two by my desk and bed. Used tissues are designed to be stuffed back in a separate slit at the bottom of the box. It’s a really cool design, not going to lie.
Overall, I’ve been really enjoying Last Tissue. I much prefer using a reusable handkerchief to a throwaway tissue that disintegrates while you’re using it. Not only is it way more eco-friendly, but I find the experience so much better. Blowing my nose doesn’t leave my nose dry and scratchy, which is a big deal in those colder months.
Last Tissue is great not just for blowing your nose, but anywhere else you might use a Kleenex or napkin. I use mine to hold snack scraps so I can easily throw them in the compost later.
Just throw dirty Last Tissues in your laundry when they need a wash! Just air dry them instead of putting them in the dryer. They are light weight so they dry super fast. Also avoiding the dryer will extend the life of your Last Tissues, just like with air drying all your clothes! If you have one, putting them in a mesh bag will help extend their life even more. Last Object does sell a handy mesh laundry bag (see photo below) in case you don’t have one already.
Last Round Review
Last Rounds replace regular cotton rounds. You know, the kind that you use to remove makeup, also known as makeup remover pads. As the cardboard packaging that Last Round comes in details, 87 billion single use cotton rounds are used each year. Not only is that a lot of physical waste, but it’s a lot of resource waste, considering the high water volume needed to produce cotton. It takes a staggering 10,000 liters of clean drinking water to produce 1,000 single use cotton rounds.
Last Rounds themselves are made in Denmark, in one of the most environmentally friendly factories in Europe. The rounds are comprised of 70% Scandinavian wood fibers and 30% cotton fibers that are too short to be used in the textile industry. I love to see companies going out of their way to use scraps that would otherwise go to waste. I imagine it would be a lot easier to not do this, but it is an essential part of creating a more sustainable economy and world.
As I mentioned above, I don’t wear a ton of makeup, especially in pandemic times. So Last Round wasn’t something I’d go out of my way to purchase, since I don’t have a major need for it. But when I did wear it, I was still taking off my eyeliner with toilet paper, which isn’t very eco-conscious nor does it feel very nice. So I was excited and curious to try Last Round, even if I won’t use it a ton right now.
Last Round Quick Specs:
- Comes with 7 reusable rounds
- Each round is backyard compostable (whoot!)
- Machine washable (hand wash to increase life span)
- One case replaces 1750 cotton rounds
My initial impression was similar to my reaction when first using the Last Swab. That is, one of surprise, since Last Round doesn’t act exactly like cotton rounds, just as Last Swab doesn’t act exactly like cotton swabs.
The biggest initial difference is that Last Round is very stiff to the touch, unlike cotton rounds which are bendable and flexible. I normally take off my makeup by using coconut oil, kept in a small glass jar in the bathroom. Coconut oil is great for many personal hygiene habits, from homemade deodorant to makeup remover to moisturizing dry skin.
Since Last Round is so stiff, it requires more liquid to soften it, and I’m not about to drench the round in copious amounts of coconut oil. As a solution, I realized that I can just dab some water on the round to soften it, squeeze out excess water, and then proceed as usual with make up removal using coconut oil. It works!
If you’re using a more liquid based makeup removal or toner, you shouldn’t have any issues. If you want to be more conservative with your product use, just wet the rounds a bit beforehand. So don’t be put off from the hard texture at first, because they really do get nice and soft with a bit of liquid.
I would recommend washing them by hand to extend the longevity. Just hand wash with some soap and water and lay them out to dry. It’s also important to note that the rounds will not last as long if you use these to take off nail polish. If you use a round for nail polish, Last Object recommends that you only use that round for nail polish removal in future. Wouldn’t want to get any nail polish remover residue in your eyes!
Last Object Review: Last Thoughts + Last Object Discount Code
All in all, I’d definitely recommend Last Object to fellow low waste minded consumers. My personal favorite was the Last Tissue, which surprised me. Like most people, I first heard of Last Object with the Last Swab, but Last Tissue ended up stealing the show for me!
I do wish that the Last Swab dried as well as cleaned my ears, but I can see how without a fabric to absorb water, that’s not exactly possible in a reusable cotton swab.
Again, low waste items are only as good as their longevity, so I will be sure to update this post in the future to note how Last Object products stand the test of time.
If you’re sold on Last Object, I recommend getting one of their kits. These bundles will save you money and ensure that you’ve got all your bases covered. Currently, Last Object offers a Beauty Kit (Last Swab Beauty, Last Round, Last Tissue, and laundry bag) and a Personal Care Kit (Last Swab Basic, Last Tissue + Refill with 6 more tissues, and laundry bag). They also make great gifts.
Don’t forget to use ALTERNATIVETRAVELERS for 10% off your Last Object purchase. Click here to shop Last Object.
What’s up next for Last Object?
Last Object is on a roll, continually expanding their range with more useful product. Next up are Last Tissue boxes and Last Masks.
The Last Tissue home boxes (think your classic rectangle Kleenex box) make a lot of sense. I imagine it will be great for larger households or homes, because you can put one in each main room. It’s also great way to introduce visitors to zero waste concepts when they come to your home.
Yes, sustainability mavens will go out of their way to integrate zero waste habits into their lives, but most people will need to see how easy it is to replace their more wasteful habits with less wasteful ones. Swapping out Kleenex boxes for Last Tissue boxes is such an easy switch. The boxes also look very clean and crisp, way better (in my humble opinion) than the ugly Kleenex boxes with weird designs on them.
And given the proliferation of disposable masks with the pandemic, a Last Mask is a great new product for these times. It is a cloth mask with three layers to align with WHO (World Health Organization) guidelines, and comes in a carry case with a mini bottle for a hand sanitizer spray. Given how convenient I found the Last Tissue carry case, I can definitely see the benefit of having a case for your mask. I don’t know about you, but I’m constantly looking for my masks. A crumpled fabric mask gets lost and flies out of pockets easily. Not so much when it is kept in a sleek little case.