Environmental Impact of Shaving

Double Edge blades are better for the environment

You might not think that shaving has a real impact on the environment. Let’s face it, replacement razor blade heads or disposable razors don’t take up too much room in your bin each week. On an individual level this may be true, a few disposable razors or replacement heads per week from each household doesn’t seem excessive. But when you think that this is most likely to be repeated in every household in the country then the numbers soon add up; as does the amount of waste produced.

One way to reduce the impact would be to not shave at all, but for a lot of us that aren’t explorers or Brian Blessed impersonators, this isn’t a viable solution. What about changing what we use to shave? As with many things, taking a step back in time could actually help us in the future and a simple comparison between modern razors and traditional safety razors raises some interesting thoughts.

Firstly we can look at the materials used in the manufacture of each type of razor. The double edged blade is a relatively straight forward product commonly constructed out of stainless steel whereas modern blades also contain composite plastic housings for the multiple blades to fit into. This means the resources going into the manufacture of modern blades is much higher than that of double edged blades. This makes the possibility of recycling modern razor blade cartridges very difficult due to the mixture of materials. Double edged razor blades are easier to recycle due to them being constructed solely of metal. The fact that they are a blade which poses a risk of injury well, a bit more on that later.

Another factor to consider is packaging. Most modern razors and replacement cartridges come in plastic blister packs with extra plastic casings to hold the cartridges. Some of this packaging can be recycled but some can’t. This could simply be down to where you live and if the facilities are available. This extra packaging again increases the energy which goes into the manufacture of these products and we are all becoming more aware of the impact on the environment of excess packaging. Double edged blades are often very simply packaged in cardboard containers with paper sleeves, all of which can be recycled nationwide.

So back to the question of recycling double edged razor blades. The first thing to do is to contact your local authority or recycling centre and get guidance from them. You may be able to recycle them with your household recycling or you may need to take them to the recycling centre. Whatever they suggest it is likely that they will stipulate that the blades must be safely packaged. One way you can do this is by making a container that the used blades can go into; one way to do this is to use an empty food tin. A good tin to use is soup. You will need to make a slit in the container for the blades to fit through, peel off the label, empty the contents out and clearly label the tin. “Razor bank” or “Sharps” could be used and ensure everyone in your house knows what it is. It is a good idea to keep it out of reach of children.

So switching from a modern razor to a safety razor may not only help your pocket, it may also help the environment too.

Find all of your environmentally friendly double edge blades at SafetyRazors.co.uk.