Disposable razors are the ultimate throwaway. Two billion of them are sold and tossed every year in the U.S. alone, along with the paper and plastic packaging they come in.
Fortunately, several good, green and ultimately money-saving options exist.
For example, a durable electric shaver uses electricity, but saves money on shaving cream, hot water, and as much as $60 per year in throwaway razors (NOTE calculation: $5 for 4-pack of disposable razors; use 1 razor per week, one 4-pack per month x 12 months, 12 x 5 = $60). Plus, an electric razor reduces the amount of trash you toss since you don’t discard empty shaving cream cans every few weeks.
A straight razor saves electricity, but requires hot water, soap or shaving cream — and maybe a lot of band aids, depending on how skillfully you can pull what amounts to a sharp metal knife across your throat or along your legs and armpits.
What to look for when you shop:
Rechargeable electric razor. Rechargeables can be expensive to purchase initially, but their long life usually warrants the up-front cash outlay. If you recharge them using a solar charger, you reduce the amount of energy they use considerably. Unlike other models, the Braun Pulsonic Shaver contains no cadmium, lead or mercury in its components. Its Smart Plug technology has earned it an Energy Star rating for energy efficiency from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
A straight razor uses no energy other than your own, but be careful! Keep a box of band aids at the ready. You can reduce scratches by sharpening your razor on a stone like this one. In place of shaving cream, many men use a shaving brush and soap they can lather in a dish or jar, for a very low cost, low-tech approach. (NOTE: You probably can’t take the straight razor on an airplane. If you travel a lot, you will still need an electric razor or a reusable razor with disposable blades).
If you use a reusable razor but disposable blades, consider a “razor saver.” This little gadget sharpens blades so you can extend their life from the normal 5-10 shaves per blade to 130!
If you absolutely must use a disposable, choose one like Recycline. The handle is made from recycled plastic and can be recycled in any community that allows recycling for #5 plastics.
Shaving cream can be green, too! These options contain organic, fragrance-free ingredients.
Get more eco-friendly personal care tips here.