Disposable razors are designed to be used and thrown ‘away’ – then you buy another. It’s a very clever marketing ploy that keeps you spending money on a product over and over again. The problem with this cycle is that there is nowhere that is actually ‘away’.
Not only are you wasting money on a product you have no need to purchase, you are also polluting the environment with plastic waste.
It’s estimated that two billion disposable razors are thrown away every year. Disturbingly, they are not recyclable.
Plastic waste in landfill never actually goes away. It breaks down into smaller pieces called microplastics, which is any bit of plastic less than five millimetres in size.
A 2018 Sydney Morning Herald article reported that microplastics have been found in humans for the first time. It’s worrying as it’s believed microplastics cause a variety of health problems.
“Experts fear that microplastics in the body may damage the immune system, trigger inflammation, and can help carry toxins such as mercury or pesticides into the body…it is believed plastics damage fertility.”
The smallest of microplastics are believed to be capable of entering the bloodstream, the lymphatic systemic and the liver. In birds it has been shown that microplastics lodge in the small intestine and disrupt iron absorption. Scientists are still learning about the effects of microplastics on human health.
The convenience of using disposable plastic products such as razors isn’t worth purchasing and compromising your health or the health of the environment.
Awareness Leads to Change
I’d been using disposable razors for around 30 years before I realised they were a pollution problem. I’d replace my disposable razor about every two weeks. Over 30 years that came to an astounding 780 razors! For just one person. I shudder to think how much money I’ve wasted.
With awareness, I started looking to purchase a stainless steel reusable safety razor. The problem was I couldn’t find any for sale. I searched at Woolworths, Coles, Priceline, Chemist Warehouse and barber shops. Every shop assistant with whom I queried if they sold reusable stainless steel safety razors looked at me like I was a weirdo. I didn’t give up, I asked on Facebook seeking a wider audience of advice.
I started to look online for a reusable razor and hesitated when I saw the price as they were around $40 – $50. In hindsight, I don’t know why I was worried about the cost considering how much money I’d already spent on disposable razors over the past 30 years. With care, reusable stainless steel safety razors last a lifetime so the aforementioned really was a bargain.
Reusable Stainless Steel Safety Razors
After a lot of searching I ended up buying online a reusable black stainless steel safety razor – which looks tough!
I was so excited when it arrived in the mail. But not excited enough to actually use it. Now I had a reusable razor, I was too scared to use it!
I made sure to order a pack of blades when purchasing the razor. Those things are sharp and I was worried about hurting myself when shaving. Admittedly, this was my first experience with a reusable razor and I didn’t even know how to put the razor blade in. In my defence, my generation didn’t use reusable razors – such is the grasp of consumerism that we have grown up in.
How to Use a Reusable Safety Razor
Thankfully, my brother came to visit and showed me how to install the blade into the razor. It was as simple as turning the knob at the end of the handle. This then opened the razor head and allowed placement of the blade.
Here’s a YouTube clip for men on how to use a reusable safety razor:
I finally gained enough courage to have a go at using my reusable safety razor on my legs. I have varicose veins and decided to shave very gently.
First I lathered my legs in soap. Then I began to shave. And guess what, I had nothing to fear. The shaving process was gentle, there were no nicks and my skin was left feeling very smooth.
The only time I’ve ever felt pinching from my reusable safety razor was when I didn’t tighten down the razor head properly and the blade was moving around when shaving. It’s not a mistake I’ve repeated.
After shaving, I always take out the blade and rinse the blade and razor under water, then pat them dry.
By refusing to buy plastic disposable razors and switching to a stainless steel reusable razor I was able to implement a simple sustainable change. It meant I had more money to save whilst helping to reduce the world’s pollution burden. One small consistent change made by many can have great benefits.
Looking for other ways to reduce your plastic pollution footprint? Check out the article ‘Plastic Produce Bags: Alternatives You Can Use’.
Please comment below with how you’d feel about changing to a reusable safety razor.