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Grooming Products – could be for the ladies too
For the guys there is one manly activity that can create a mountain of waste over the years and that is shaving with disposable shavers and shaving cream. In the US alone, 2 billion razors are thrown away every year.
Are disposable razors recyclable? NO. "Disposable" razor blade cartridges and handles cannot be recycled because they are made of many different materials, including plastic, steel and rubber.
So how do we go about reducing the grooming waste?
Firstly you could just buy an electric shaver which is an upfront cost but will save you money in the long run. It also means that you dispose of the blade only once every 12 – 18 months. Replacement blades are around $50 - $80 each if they are available (make sure you get one you can replace the blades in). This is an extremely low waste option for shaving as the shavers will generally last 3 – 5 years depending on the quality of the razor and you will have one blade to dispose of every 12 – 18 months.
Secondly you could get an old fashioned safety razor. Many fear the old fashioned safety razors but given that this is still the tool of preference for the barbers, who are the shaving experts, it makes you wonder why they ever disappeared out of mainstream supermarket shelves.
There is one main reason…the Safety razors are much cheaper: the stainless steel razor handle lasts a lifetime and blade replacements are available online or in barber shops and cost around $25 for 100 double sided blades (you can pay more for higher quality blades too). With a disposable blade you get around 3 blades for $20, if you are lucky.
It takes a bit of practice to get the hang of the lost art of using a safety razor, but ultimately you have more control in angle and pressure. This way of shaving also reduces skin irritation. The celebrated advantage of multi-blades (the first blade lifts, the second cuts) actually causes ingrown hairs by cutting follicles below the skin line.
You could potentially recycle the blades from the safety razor. If you carefully collect them in a tin can with just a slot in the top, you will generally be able to take them to a scrap metal collection and recycle them that way but you cannot ever put then in a recycle bin.
Or you could grow a beard and therefore never have to shave, obviously this is a huge waste reducer, and for the bearded ones, you can buy wooden beard combs and brushes if you want to keep it au natural.
Shaving foams and brushes
It is time to move back to a shaving brush and soap.
The bristle brushes cost anywhere from $25 - $400 (uh huh!!) or you can often get them as part of a shaving kit including the brush, razor, spare blades and soap for as little as $100.
A solid shaving soap is likely to last 6 months or more even if you are using it every day. The soaps also vary in price but you would be looking at anywhere from $30 per soap.
Many of the soaps just come in a cardboard box that you then add to your shaving bowl. You may be able to compost the cardboard the soap come in so it would be zero waste.
But by using a bristle brush and shaving soap, you can minimize waste significantly by simply not buying disposable shaving foam containers.