A razor is an essential item for the modern man. Though convenient, it is contributing to the mess we have made of our environment. People continue to express their concern for the environment but do not think twice before buying those disposable plastic razors. Most of them are single-use, though manufacturers might claim otherwise.
Billions of these plastic razors are destined for landfills, their composition of mixed material making them unsuitable for recycling. Even the best razors are rejected after 3 to 7 uses as they get clogged and don’t give the ‘close shave’ that modern man craves.
Accompanying the razors are the tons of materials used for their packing; that means even more cardboard and plastic in use.
In the 1990s alone, 2B pounds of razors were disposed of by Americans alone. That was a time when a significant number of people still relied on traditional razors where the blades could be replaced. Present-day figures are much more alarming.
BEYONDPLASTIC has reported that around 5,000 billion disposable razor blades are used every year around the world. The situation is much worse now, and plastic razors have become an indispensable part of grooming for both genders.
Plastic Razors Are In No Way Recyclable
The plastic razors are not recyclable because of the materials used in their manufacture. Because of their mixed content, they are destined to be dumped in landfills where they will remain forever.
Gillette has done its share of tokenism by offering to take back the used ones free of cost. It teamed up with Terracycle, while helps in the recycling of materials and products that are not easily disposed of or decomposed. But the initiative was doomed from the start as a mere 200 centers could not cater to a worldwide shaving community.
And attempts at recycling becomes unfeasible due to the high costs involved. Another razor company, BIC of France tried its hand at a recycling program without much success. The simple mantra is, if you cannot profit from recycling a product, it is considered non-recyclable.
Eco-friendly Alternatives To Plastic Razors
There are sustainable alternatives in the market. While bio-degradable alternatives like bamboo, metal, and brass can help curtail the volume that is dumped in landfills around the world, reusable alternatives remain the best option.
The safety razor, the double-edged one, is the best alternative for people intent on moving away from the plastic razor. The double-edged advantage effectively increases the use of the disposable razor used inside. They have been around for decades and the grip is made either from steel or brass.
They give a closer shave than even the best multiple-blade razors and are more versatile. If you get used to it, they are easy to handle and are skin-friendly.
Only the flimsy metal blade is disposed of after several uses. The used blades can be stored in a container both for safety and for disposing of them at a recycling plant. But be sure about their disposal as there are different rules for discarding sharp-edged products.
There are alternatives to plastic razors. Razors are made from recyclable plastic and are as good as plastic razors. Even Gillette has entered the market of reusable razors that they manufacture from recycled plastic. The package is made using 85% recycled plastic.
If you are not comfortable with either, there are metal alternatives to the multi-blade razors that can be recycled once trashed.
There are also disposable razors that are eco-friendly and are better than plastic razors. The handles are made from wheat straw.
We continue to get drawn into using more and more products that use plastic as their basic building material. The issue has become a cultural one as we refuse to move away from the little advantage that plastic gives. But on the flip side, the costs of these minor conveniences are enormous. Plastic is derived from fossil fuels and is a non-renewable material.
We keep talking about sustainability but keep using products that are destined for landfills after a single-use, even though a better alternative has existed for centuries even before the disposable plastic razors were invented.
The safety razor remains the most viable alternative for people fixated on their daily shave. Modern design changes have made the safety razors no different from conventional modern disposable razors when it comes to safety. They are safer when you consider the hygiene factor. As the blade can be separated and washed, it is easier to get rid of any hidden germs. The plastic razors cannot be cleaned thoroughly if you are planning to use them more than once.
Most of us realize that multi-blade marketing is merely a marketing gimmick. A single blade gives just as close a shave. It is the only hair that we are cutting. Using multiple blades only means more contact with the skin and the chances of burn and abrasions. This causes more irritations and rashes which can be a real problem if you have sensitive skin.
Safety razors give you a clean cut with just one sweep if only you get the technique right. Getting the angle right is important, and beginning with 30 degrees is the right way to start. The steeper you go, the sharper and closer the shave. But it also means that you run the risk of nicks and scrapes.
People with certain skin conditions like diabetes should take extra care. But any accidental nicks can be easily treated with an antiseptic lotion or cream. But then nicks are only for beginners, once you get the hang of it, it becomes effortless even as you do your bit for the environment.