Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Green Choices Wednesday

Disposable shaving products?  No!

Recently, I posted about eliminating disposable shaving products from my lifestyle.  I researched razor options, and I've decided to purchase a safety razor.  This will eliminate throwaway plastic disposable razors.  The used blades will go into my metal recycling bin.  I haven't yet made a razor purchase, because I still have disposable razors from a multi-razor package, and I will shave with them until they are all used. Discarding them would not accomplish anything.  The resources from which they were made have already been consumed, and there is no bringing them back.  And if there's one thing I dislike more than non-recyclable items, it's waste. 

The other decision I made was to discontinue using shaving foam in disposable cans.This week, my can of foam was low, and I told my wife I wanted to pick up a shaving brush and shaving soap. Yesterday, she went to store and brought me a shaving brush and some inexpensive, drugstore-variety shaving soap to try.

I still have a little in my last can of foam which I will use up, but first I decided to try the brush and soap.  On first trial, I was very pleased with the result.  The soap gave me a better shave with my disposable razor than canned foam.  After shaving, my face felt smoother and softer than after shaving with foam.  And this was from using the least expensive soap option I've seen, so using the specialty soap varieties should be even better! 

I like that the soap just comes in a simple cardboard box that I can add to my paper recycling.   Resources used to transport the soap should also be much less than shipping the equivalent of a much lower volume of  lather in a heavy metal can. Water is a significant ingredient in canned foam.  Anything that can be mixed in the home with tap water avoids shipping water, weighing 8 lbs./gallon, wasting fuel and generating pollutants.  A home mix also avoids shipping unneeded hydrocarbon propellants such as isobutane and isopentane, which are released into the air when the foam is dispensed.


Chadd said...

Hey Vern

Rather than recycling, use a sharps container or ‘blade bank’. I make mine out of an empty can or plastic bottle with a slot cut in the side, dispose of the can when it gets full. Blades are sharp, so keep away from small (and large) children and animals.

I used to recycle the blades, but
Tom Watson, Eco-Consumer Columnist of the Seattle Times, recommended against it, “I believe that could pose a risk for the people who process recyclables on a sorting line. What if the blades fall out of the can, or people don’t do it the way you suggest? Those blades are such a small amount of waste (and are more efficient by being double-sided) that your razor is still a very green product…”

More here:

Vern said...

Food for thought for sure, Chadd. Even without saving the small metal blade, the waste is vastly reduced.

Thanks for the link. Lots of good info on the retrorazor site!

zachary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
zachary said...

Great post. I have been trying to reduce my consumption of these types of small disposable items, but never thought there were too many options for shaving. Glad to hear of these good ideas. Will implement them ASAP. Let us know what type of razor you end up purchasing.

Don said...

I wanted to mention this after your first shaving post, but I couldn't remember the product name. I have an older Schick Injector Razor. It is shaped and handles like a disposable razor but uses single-edged blades.

I don't know if the razors are still sold new (there are always some on eBay), but the blades are available everywhere. They are stainless steel and come in a stainless cartridge. The cartridge has a slot in the bottom for old blades, and after you're done with it, you can put the cartridge containing the blades in the recycling.

Also, I was wondering if you remember the old-fashioned medicine cabinets that had a slot in the back with a label that said "Razor Blades" on it? The blades that were put in it dropped down between the studs inside the wall.

Vern said...

Thanks, Zach! I really wanted to try a straight razor, but they're so expensive, and need periodic sharpening and a strop and all. I'm leaning toward starting with a safety razor. It will be months before my disposables run out, but I'll post my choice when I decide for sure!

Don, the injector razor would also be a good option. Just a blade; no plastic throwaway. I used to have one, also used to have several safety razors. I wish I had kept them-- I would just resurrect one and buy blades, instead of looking for something new! And I do remember the blade disposal slots in the older medicine cabinets. Telling my age...

Don said...

Guess what I just found...two injector razors in my parents' old bathroom stuff! Want one? E-mail me your street address, and I'll send you one. (And while you're at it, you might respond to my last 2 e-mails.)

Another thing I thought of after my last post: Anyone remember "Pyramid Power" which claimed razor blades could be kept sharp forever by storing them under a little pyramid? I saw it as a hoax to sell the pyramids which were about as useful as a Pet Rock!

Vern said...

Don, I'll let you know on the injector-- I'm going to compare local blade availability, prices and shaving reviews on the injector vs. double-edge safety razor.

I will, however catch up on my email! I've neglected it lately, and at any given time seem to be multiple pages behind on mail!

Maybe I should even try both types razor so I can determine which feels best to me!


Don said...

I probably should have asked this much earlier, but why aren't you considering an electric razor? Are you one of those guys who tried one once and didn't like it, or does it have something to do with energy consumption?

I usually use an electric razor on my face and a bladed razor to trim my sideburns and shave the back of my neck. I figure the electric probably uses less energy than heating the water for a regular razor, and I've never used shaving cream. Even when I shave my face with a blade, I just use Ivory soap to make a lather.

Vern said...

I used an electric for a while, years ago, and went back to a blade. I guess I didn't think it shaved as closely. Now, I guess I'd rather not use the energy at all, even though the amount of electricity isn't a lot. And it does take energy to heat the water for blade shaving. I usually shave in the shower, when I'm running water off and on any way. But I'm sure I must run a little more when shaving.

Don said...

I swear this is a true story:

A few years ago, I saw one of those fogless mirrors for shaving in the shower in a local store. Thinking it was a great idea, I put the mirror in my cart and proceeded to the checkout lane. I was just about to unload my cart when it dawned on me.....I can't see well enough to shave without my glasses on! LOL

Vern said...

You need fogless glasses, Don! ;-)