How is double-edge shaving green?

There are essential elements of Safety Razors that make them 90% more material efficient than conventional razors, and then RetroRazor has taken extra steps to minimize our footprint:

Safety Razors are Green

Handle: RetroRazor is constructed of a hefty copper alloy and plated with chrome. It is made to last. There is virtually no plastic.

Double-edge safety razor blades are a thin metal strip. That is it. Simple.

Double Edge blades are typically wrapped in a small piece of waxed paper, and in a small plastic or cardboard container.

A five pack of blades, including packaging is 4.9 grams.

Blades are 100% recyclable if taken directly to a center, or through sharps disposal (see below). Safety razors can give years of service, and antique razors can be found at most antique stores for a song. When a Safety Razor wears out, it can be fully recycled.

Safety Razors will not go obsolete, a tried and true 75+ year design that is still used by 40% of the world’s shaving population.

Blade manufacturers are in over a dozen countries around the world, and replacements can be purchased for as low as $.10 cents each!

Handle: Disposable Razors are a travesty – with 98% of the Razor being non-recyclable or “waste ” materials.

Plastic cartridges contain rubber, lubricating strips and the heavy plastic blade holder.

Then there is infuriating amounts of blister packaging to prevent theft.

A four pack of Fusion razors weighs over 45 grams.

Cartridges are not recyclable (except the Preserve razor. Most handles are not recyclable as mixed materials; The vibrating Fusion Power contains batteries, which are also impactful.

Planned obsolescence and incompatibility: new blades do not fit the old handles. Since 1971, Gillette has offered the following non-compatible models: Trac II, Atra, Sensor, Mach3, and Fusion – with the introduction of new handles annually, such as vibrating and LED lighting features…

Not to mention the exponential increase in blades, from two to five blades in 15 years.

Place used blades in a sharps container or ‘blade bank’. Available at your local pharmacy (or made of an empty tin 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.

Tom Watson, Eco-Consumer Columnist of the Seattle Times, recommends wrapping them well in paper and disposing with household garbage. He says, “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…”

RetroRazor Makes Shaving Even Greener

Since 2008, RetroRazor has placed EcoConsiderations at the top of our business practices. Our original razor, the Weishi 9306,  included a heavy injected plastic case and cardboard box. This was then shipped to us with three additional layers of heavy cardboard, leading to more carbon emissions on transport.

We liked the razor, but it was tough to translate our desire for a more sustainable razor. Plus we wanted to include a sampler of blades from around the world. Voila, we sought partners, domestic and overseas, that shared our values, and could help us realize our goals.

  • We reduced plastics from our products by 70% from our original product line. There are still plastic elements in the blade packaging and cleaning brush. We are continuing to seek these razors with cardboard packaging, and well the brush is cute as is.
  • Transitioned to unbleached cotton travel bags as our external packaging. Useful for keeping the kit together, but also great for travelling.
  • Streamline our supply chain to bring products into the US with as few planes, trains, and automobiles as possible.
  • Package and assemble with a Seattle non-profit employing developmentally disabled adults.

We are working with an environmental consultant to calculate our environmental impact and purchase carbon offset credits later in 2010.

RetroRazor is proud of what we have achieved. We are looking forward to continuing our search for ways to minimize the footprint of shaving and engage the community.