It’s something many of you do every single day, but you probably have never given it a second thought in terms of it’s impact on the environment. There are a number of ways you can shake up your shaving routine to make the overall cost to the environment (and your bank account!) far lower.
Say goodbye to disposables
This is a no-brainer, and even if you weren’t concerned with having a more environmentally friendly shaving routine, you shouldn’t be using disposable razors and aerosol shaving cream anyway. The amount of waste that is created from disposable razors alone is insane. According to EPA, the US throws away 2 billion disposable razors a year, which equals approximately 1 billion pounds of waste. Take a second to process that number, because it’s huge. Many people only use their disposable razors once or twice before tossing them in the garbage since they are of such low quality. The plastic cartridges build up and sit in landfills, creating substantially more garbage than you think. So not only do disposable razors give you an inferior shave, but you’re contributing to a major environmental problem.
By switching to a straight razor or safety razor, you’ll be taking a huge step to improving the disposable razor waste issue. While the initial cost may seem steep (or at least steeper than the cost of a bag of low-quality disposables), the overall savings in the long run is staggering. Chances are you will never have to replace your safety razor handle, so the only replacements to be made are the blades, which are far less harmful to the environment than an entire disposable cartridge. A good quality straight razor can be cleaned and sharpened, and therefore may never need to be replaced. Even though switching to a safety razor or straight razor can be intimidating, as with anything, practice makes perfect.
Say goodbye to aerosol shaving creams
Again, aside from drug store aerosol shaving creams being far inferior to higher quality creams and gels, the waste produced by these cans is particularly harmful. Not only do these cans typically end up in a landfill, most of the time they are not properly expelled and are therefore a safety hazard for sanitation employees (since they can explode when compacted). Conventional shaving creams are packed with harmful chemicals, including propolene glycol (which is typically found in antifreeze and break fluid), triethanolamine (which can cause cancer), and sodium lauryl sulfate (which mimics estrogen), just to name a few. Not only are you putting these chemicals onto your skin, but you are washing them down the drain and into your city’s water system.
Switching to a shaving soap made with glycerin and/or lanolin is a great start. Shaving soap also typically comes in paper packaging, which can be recycled. Not a fan of shave soap? High lathering shaving creams that are eco-friendly are also available. These creams come in tubes and twist-open containers, both being types of packaging that is substantially more eco-friendly than an aluminum aerosol can. Not to mention, they are made with much safer ingredients, for both the environment and your skin.
Other eco-friendly options
Use less water! Turn the tap off while you’re lathering and shaving.
Go for a wax! This eliminates all razor-related waste you may produce at home. Plus, it’s waterless!
Just don’t shave! Beards are very on trend at the moment, and it’s a trend we aren’t anticipating to be going anywhere anytime soon. If you simply cannot deal with a full-on beard, try trimming your facial hair with scissors, or go for a style that requires less shaving (like a goatee). This minimizes the amount of water and shaving cream you use, and therefore minimizes waste. Who knew your beard could be good for the environment?
If you insist on using disposable razors, simply switch to a cartridge razor that only requires the head to be replaced. This cuts down on waste drastically, since you are only replacing the razor head, as opposed to the handle as well. Another great idea is to invest in a RazorPitRazor Sharpener! This handy little tool will clean and sharpen any razor (even disposables), extending its life and therefore reducing the frequency of replacement.
The common arguments against starting an eco-friendly shaving routine are the initial cost, the effort of learning to shave with a new instrument, and the intimidating factor of dragging a sharp blade across your face. However, when considering the long-term savings in terms of both the environment and your bank account, it really seems like a no-brainer.
Header Image: Razors Barber Shop