Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Stubble Free Sustainability

Legs, armpits, beards, "other" places... Most adults in modern Western society shave something on our bodies to remove unwanted hair.  And according to Wikipedia, we've been shaving in some way, shape, or form for a long time-- since the Bronze Age.
In 1895, the concept of the safety razor was conceived by King C. Gillette and the arduous (or artful) task of shaving was revolutionized.  Then came along Schick, Bic, and then the electric shavers all to add to the list of modern conveniences.  And, well, you know the rest.  Or do you?  What about all of those single-use plastic disposable razors that we use once or twice, then pitch into the garbage and landfills to remain in perpetuity?
In our haste for ease and convenience of a cheap, clean and smooth shave, we've created a bigger problem:  huge amounts of waste. The EPA estimates that over 2 billion disposable razors end up in landfills in the United States every year.  2 billion!!  Disposable razors may not take up that much room on their own, but 2 billion of them sure do year after year.  Plus, they're a non-biodegradable, petroleum-based product.  Ouch.  Even worse.  So what can we do to make this better?  We can take small, simple eco-steps and lighten our load on the planet just by changing the kind of razor we use.

There are companies out there that are already on to this.  Preserve is a company that produces 100% recycled plastic razors (and toothbrushes-- 50 million pounds of them end up in landfills every year!). 

Consider this:  When manufacturers use recycled plastics, not only do they conserve the oil and natural gas that would be used to make virgin plastics, they also save energy - typically 88% less energy is used to make recycled plastic than to make virgin plastic (Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality).

Or, to reduce your razor carbon footprint, you could use a safety razor, or consider using razors with disposable blades, as shown in the picture above.  Just about all of the major razor manufacturers make them.

Here are some additional links to check out as well:

Topic Credit: http://tsotd.com/
Image Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wikiraz.jpg


  1. Of course, you could just wear your knee-beard with pride.

  2. Indeed. :)

    Definition of knee beard: Those little hairs on or below the knee that get missed when shaving.

    Please feel free to use in daily conversation!

  3. Razors with disposable blades are a good option. They cost more initially but you save a bundle in the long run.

    I switched from shaving to waxing my legs many years ago but didn't like the mess when I attempted to do it myself. Also, it's quite wasteful when you think about the endless number of cotton strips used to pull the wax off of your skin. So, a few years ago, I invested in an epilator (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epilator) and haven't looked back. Besides the resources involved in its production, and the minimal energy use that goes towards using it every six to eight weeks, it's a very eco-friendly hair removal option!