Updated: Jun 11, 2020
Disposable razors are built to last a lifetime. They were introduced in the late 1960s and have become a multibillion dollar industry that is kept alive by consumer dollar. These razors are recommended to be used only seven times before being thrown away.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 2 billion disposable razors are thrown away each year. These individual products will never be recycled because they are hazardous waste that can injure workers in recycling facilities. This means all 2 billion of those razors going to landfills, waterways, and our oceans.
The cost of razors for you AND the planet
Not only is this costing the earth through plastic pollution, injuring ocean life, and adding to the overall toxicity of our sea- it is costing you so much money. Depending on the type of razor and how many blades you prefer, the average cost of razors per year will vary for men and women. Surveys from 2013 estimated you will spend $115-200 per year on razors.
What if I told you could spend $15 on one razor that could be used for your entire life? If you lived until you were 60 years old and started shaving in high school, this would save you about $9,000. Did I mention safety razors offer the closest shave? That's how it was originally marketed before plastic razors took over.
Solution: Metal Safety Razors
Believe it or not, you can find a metal safety razor in mostly any walgreens, CV, or convenience store. They cost anywhere from $13-$25 and come with a starter set of razors. The razor and blades are made of stainless steel, which is one of the most sustainable materials in existence. Stainless steel can be 100% recycled with no degradation, meaning it can be used over and over again. Materials like these are essential to create a waste free circular economy. And every time you buy something from steel, you are demanding it.
I've had a traditional metal safety razor since I made the switch back in 2016. I just upgraded to a metal and bamboo razor from Bambaw and love it. It has a larger handle and a design for both men and women.
Like steel, bamboo is another example of a sustainable material. Bamboo grows quick without any pesticides or fertilizer, regenerates itself without roots, and absorbs more carbon dioxide than other plants. While the bamboo industry isn't perfect, it has tremendous advantages over plastic and cotton and can be applied to over 1,500 uses in our economy from clothing manufacturing to housing infrastructure to household products, like razors.
You can protect our planet today.
If you are ready to take the next step in your sustainability journey, I'm here to tell you it's time. These small switches add up to huge changes for our environment (and your wallet). You might be thinking, "I'm just one person," but there are 7 billion of us. Your dollar is so powerful, it is the voice you have to show what you support. The first step to being a mindful consumer is educating yourself. I just gave you the information you need, now let's do something about it.
By committing to reducing your plastic impact, you are committing to helping marine life, future generations, and your community. For that, I am thankful.
If you want to learn about more switches you can make for a plastic free bathroom, check out my post on shampoo bars, which also highlights why plastic pollution in our oceans is so dangerous. Feel free to leave a comment about your experience with metal safety razors!