DO NOT USE ETCHER IT WILL BRICK YOUR USB STICKS

Turned a perfectly fine 8GB usb stick into a 2MB brick while trying to flash Linux Mint.

That is the size of the partition reported by the partition table, and not the actual capacity of the drive. The Linux Mint image probably contains a 2 MB partition (probably FAT) that your operating system is seeing. You should be able to boot the USB stick without any issues.

You can bring back the device by completely cleaning and re-creating the partition table, as just formatting the drive may not be good enough, as it might persist the partition table.

See https://github.com/balena-io/etcher/blob/master/docs/USER-DOCUMENTATION.md#recovering-broken-drives for more details