Consumers often must decide whether to use disposable or reusable razors when shaving. Although cost and performance are often the main factors, disposable razors are now being recognised for their environmental impact. That's right, it's not just about cost and performance anymore – it's about considering the long-term effects on our planet. So, let's make an informed decision about our shaving routine and do our part for the environment!
The history of sustainability in the shaving industry
Did you know that the history of sustainability in the shaving industry has come full circle over the past 100 years? Traditionally, men would shave at the barber or with a straight razor that could be sharpened and reused. Then King Gillette invented the safety razor and disposable blades changing everything. As time passed, this idea of convenience and disposability continued to grow, with brands like Bic offering fully disposable plastic razors in the 70's. However, thanks to customers like you, there has been a shift towards more sustainable options in recent years! Like our very own FFS razor, companies are now making reusable razors that remove plastic and replace it with eco-friendly materials like bamboo or sugar cane. Sustainability initiatives in manufacturing processes, like reducing energy and water usage and using eco-friendly packaging, are becoming common. So, let's continue to learn about our impact on the planet and make conscious choices about what we use to shave – because every little bit helps!
Impact of disposable razors
It may surprise you to learn that in the US, an estimated 2 billion disposable razors end up in landfills every year. That translates into over 63 disposable razors going into landfills every single second! As a result, there is a risk that the plastic from these razors may not biodegrade for more than 100 years. This is just another example of how humans are producing an ever-increasing amount of waste as a result of our lifestyles.
In addition, disposable razors also have a much higher carbon footprint than reusable razors. Typically, they are shipped in more bulky packaging that can also be made of plastic. Therefore, they consume more fossil fuels to transport them. Furthermore, they use up more resources to manufacture than blades alone. This is because the handles are manufactured over and over again, instead of just being replaced with a single blade head.
The long-term impact of disposable razors is the plastic that over time contributes to the contamination of our planet with microplastics (MP). As these razors break down, the plastic can break down into smaller and smaller pieces, eventually becoming microplastics. Microplastics can then be released into the environment through chemical leaching or physical processes like erosion. These MP can then be consumed by animals and end up in our food and water supply.
Ways you can help
Here is our top 5 ways you can help to shave sustainably.
1. Use a reusable razor
The obvious number 1 answer is switching your disposable to a reusable razor. For example our FFS metal handles offer longevity so all you need to change is the blade. You will also benefit from a closer, more comfortable shave.
2. Recycle your blades with FFS or an approved recycling centre
The next best way to help is recycle your blades. Support from razor brands vary but here at FFS we recycle blades in-house, all we ask is you send your blades to us by 2nd class post. Please click here to read more about our blade recycling service.
3. Choose a company that uses packaging made from recycled materials
As well as the razors themselves, is the packaging that contains them, try to use a brand that uses packaging that is recyclable or made from recycled materials. For example, FFS products are supplied in boxes that are made from 80% recycled cardboard. They contain no adhesive strips, so they are 100% recyclable including the ink we use to print them.
4. Purchase close to home.
Some companies may use recycled materials but still have the products made in China, which limits the benefits of using greener materials. If you can, purchase from a brand from within the UK to reduce your carbon footprint.
5. Compliment your shave with eco-friendly shaving creams.
Some shaving products include nasties such as micro beads and plastic tubes that are difficult to recycle and typically end up in landfill. To combat these problems try and use shaving creams that use natural ingredients and packaging, for example the black caps featured on our FFS shaving products allow them to be easily identified by recycling centres.
One shave at a time!
In conclusion, disposable razors can have a significant impact on the environment, from the amount of waste they generate to their carbon footprint and contribution to microplastic pollution. However, by making the switch to a reusable razor and supporting companies that use eco-friendly materials and manufacturing processes, we can reduce our impact on the planet and do our part to create a more sustainable future. Whether it's using a reusable razor, recycling your blades, choosing companies that use recycled materials, purchasing locally made products, or supporting sustainability initiatives, there are many ways we can contribute to a more sustainable shaving industry. So let's make a difference – one shave at a time!