A Close Shave

Greener, cheaper, better shaving

I'll avoid making puns about how this sustainable suggestion will shave you lots of money, but in all seriousness this post is both a win for you, your budget, and the planet. I want to brag about my new safety razor (a stainless steel razor built to last a lifetime) and persuade you folks to invest in one too. Allow me to explain why you owe no loyalty to the disposable razor.

 
 

Whether you're a man or a woman, it's not unlikely that you shave some part of your body, and it's not unlikely that you do so with a disposable razor. It's estimated that two billion plastic razors are thrown away each year and they're nearly impossible to recycle (super unsustainable). They are expensive and because of their layering of multiple of blades, they're actually more irritating for your skin than a razor with a single blade. 

Safety razors, on the other hand, have been around since the 1880s and they provide a gentler, closer shave. Buying a safety razor will cost you more upfront (up from $40/£20), but the replacement blades cost about 25c/50p each and last you a couple of months. Those blades are even recyclable, meaning you can completely reduce your bathroom waste. In short, it’s a closer, cheaper, less irritating shave that is a win for you and the planet.

TOP TIP

• If you live in Vancouver, head to The Soap Dispensary on Main Street to see safety razors on display/for sale.
• Before buying, pay attention to what material the safety razor is made from (is it plated? will it rust?). There are cheap ones out there and antique ones too - settle for the happy medium. If you're going to invest in a reusable razor, why not choose one built to last a lifetime?
• Here are some of the safety razor brands I've heard of: Merkur, Parker, Edwin Jagger, Mühle.
• Here are some of the razor blade brands I've heard of: Astra, Shark, Merkur, Feather.
• Blades last longer if you dry them between use.
• Keep your safety razor out of the shower and dab with a towel afterwards to keep it dry.
• Collect used razors in a tub to be sent to your local recycling once they've stocked up (an old film canister works great).
• Invest in shaving soap, or wait to shave until the end of your warm shower so your pores are open and hair soft.
• When shaving, hold the blade at a 30 degree angle and use short strokes. Don't apply any pressure.

 
 

WHY BOTHER?

Lots of our toiletries are packaged in plastic and need replenishing every few months, but plastic packaging is rubbish (pun intended) because once it serves one function, we throw it out. We may think 'out of sight, out of mind', but that's not the case with our waste. Plastic packaging takes hundreds of years to break down - virtually all of the plastic ever made is still on this earth and only 9% of plastic is recycled. 

This doesn't have empty consequences. People, businesses, mammals, fish and our oceans are affected by plastic pollution. There are fishermen whose income relies of the health of local fish. There are fishes and birds dying from hunger because their bellies are full of plastic which they can't digest. There are coastal people whose livelihood relies on the tourist industry, but their beaches are littered with washed up plastic/waste from around the world.

Our waste affects lots of facets of this world - let's use our influence an an opportunity to be conscientious and kind, not blind.