Shaving is one aspect of our daily routine that has a bigger impact on our planet than we may realize. Back in the 1990’s, the EPA estimated that around 2 billion razors and cartridges got tossed in landfills each year, and thirty years later that number is certainly much higher. Since most of us are shaving something on our bodies daily, we can make a difference in reducing plastic waste by choosing alternatives to the razors commonly found on supermarket shelves.
The public concern about plastic waste is large enough that even the big companies are jumping on board to offer better options, although these “greenwashed” options come with their own set of problems. Gillette has a new razor called “Planet Kind” that is made from 60 percent recycled plastic and the packaging is made from 85 percent recycled plastic. They also claim that the razor is fully recyclable through Terracycle. However, Terracycle requires you mail the razor to them at your own cost or drop it off at one of only 200 nationwide locations. Neither option is convenient and these razors will most likely end up in the dump. It is also worth noting that Gillette is one of the few companies that still tests on animals, which is deeply concerning from an ethical viewpoint.
It is better to never utilize plastic in the first place rather than try to recycle it, so the best options will be made from metals that are durable and reusable, or compostable starch based bio-plastics. We picked out some brands that will give you a great shave without burdening our ecosystem with more plastic pollution.
The Oui Single Razor is a safety razor that is made from stainless steel and comes with ten steel blades that can be recycled in most facilities that accommodate sharps. Some safety razors can be tricky to use but this brand prides itself on the balanced weight design that allows for a gentle shave with less ingrown hairs and irritation. The razor is packaged plastic-free in a paper wrapper. Oui also sells their own brand of shave gels, lotions and serums that are formulated without parabens, phthalates, petrolatum or synthetic fragrances. And none of their products are ever tested on animals.
If you are traveling light and need to pack a reusable razor in your carry-on, there aren’t many environmentally friendly options to choose from. Your safety razor can only be packed in checked luggage, according to the TSA. This is where a bio-plastic razor can save the day. Elva’s All Naturals sells a compostable and biodegradable razor made from wheat straw. The only drawback is that the blade head must be removed and will end up going in the trash bin, however, it is also made from a wheat straw so other than the stainless steel blades, the head will eventually biodegrade.
A traditional safety razor can be intimidating for someone transitioning from a cartridge razor. The Leaf razor is a great eco-friendly option if you want the close shave of a safety razor with a pivoting or multi-blade shave head. This razor and its blades are completely plastic free, and are made from stainless steel. It is uniquely customizable with space for up to three blades and comes in a variety of colors and finishes. For four dollars, you can purchase a recycling tin for your dull blades, which then can be recycled at some local municipalities or mailed back to Leaf for recycling. The company packages and ships products in plastic free materials as well as offsetting its carbon footprint completely.
It might not seem like a plastic razor makes a big difference in the long haul, but billions of plastic razors a year add up to a considerable plastic waste issue. Every time you are making a purchase, you are given the chance to choose sustainability. These opportunities build on themselves to create an entire lifestyle of more conscious eco-friendly living. The choice of plastic-free shaving products is another commitment that you can make to a cleaner planet for future generations