Eco-Conscious Alternatives to ‘Not-So-Eco’ Disposable Razors

disposable razorsDisposable 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).

disposable razorIf 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.

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7 Responses to Eco-Conscious Alternatives to ‘Not-So-Eco’ Disposable Razors

  1. Ezmelts September 8, 2010 at 4:39 pm #

    Great timing with this article. After reading about how much waste women generate from the products we use for our period, that got me into thinking about all the other products women view as necessities and consume daily.
    I prefer waxing rather than shaving (but still have disposable razors on hands for emergency cases). Yet I’m sure the waste generated from the dirty wax strips is not any better than that of disposing the razors…
    Can you tackle waxing or other hair removal methods next?

  2. Terrina March 24, 2011 at 3:27 am #

    I didn’t think the production processes involved in the making of an electric razor would be that great environmentally speaking… and once it does wear out, how is it disposed of? I thought chucking spent electrical goods into the local tip was also not that great.

  3. Maud August 16, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    The Recycline (now called the Preserve) is not a disposable razor. I just bought one. Only the blade cartridges are disposable.

  4. Ashley January 5, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

    Disposable blades can be kept sharp for up to 6 months using this method:
    …which makes reusable safety razors an even better candidate!

  5. Diane MacEachern January 17, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    Thanks for the link!

  6. Shave The Earth February 9, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    Good article, but we’d like to highlight that we don’t own a single box of band aids !

  7. Diane MacEachern February 12, 2013 at 6:52 am #

    Feel free to share more information about eco-friendly shaving options! Thanks.

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