>> Tuesday, February 3, 2009
According to the EPA, every year Americans throw away 2 billion disposable razors. Considering the size of a razor, that's probably not too much landfill space, but why we're using so many disposable razors is still beyond me. I've always thought of disposable razors as a surefire way to cut up your legs.
Shaving cream is a whole other can of HCFCs. Although aerosol cans no longer contain the ozone-depleting chloroflourocarbons (CFCs), the replacements (including hydrochloroflourocarbons or HCFCs) are less harmful but still lead to depletion of the ozone layer.
I'm a girl, so my focus is on legs, but for any male readers, you can modify the information to suit your needs.
- Switch from disposables to razors with a replaceable head. If you don't already own one, a great choice is the Preserve razor. The handles are made from recycled yogurt containers and are recyclable if you mail them back to Recycline using the mailer enclosed in their packaging.
- Dry your razor after using. Awhile back, I read about a guy that extended the life of a disposable razor blade for an entire year just by drying it out after each use. Drying your razor keeps it from rusting.
- Recycle your aerosol shaving cream cans. When thrown into a landfill, aerosol cans are a hazard because they are pressurized and can explode, especially if a fire breaks out. Most recycling centers take these as long as they are empty and you have removed the plastic top.
- Go old school and try a safety razor or a straight razor. Here's a guide from Mother Earth News about how to use a straight razor for any brave souls out there.
- Check Skin Deep for a less toxic shaving cream.
- Use a brush and mug shaving set. My husband gave this a try using our regular glycerin soap and a brush I picked up from Whole Foods. He said it worked fine, but I have my suspicions it would work better with soap specifically designed for a brush and mug. Any experienced users have suggestions?
- Try sugaring. Here's a sample recipe from Crunchy Chicken. All I've got to say is "Ouch!"
- Stop shaving. For the brave non-conformists out there, this option is the most natural and least toxic. Shaving is a cultural thing anyway, and a recent one at that.
Tips for the Budget Conscious
The less you use, the more money you save. So whether you're using a plastic razor with replaceable heads or a safety razor, shaving less often and drying the blades between uses to keep it sharp is a good idea. Soap makes an affordable shaving cream, but make sure you work up a good lather or use a brush and mug to avoid painful nicks.
Where I'm At
I ran out of replaceable heads for my Venus razor about six months ago. Since then, I've been drying my razor after each use and storing it in the medicine cabinet instead of the shower. Last week, after way too much over-analyzing, I finally decided that I wasn't brave enough to try the safety razor (and I didn't want to waste money on one just to find out that I don't like it when I already have a perfectly good Venus razor). So I picked up a new pack of razor heads at the grocery store.
For scientific purposes, I shaved one leg with the old blade, and the other with the new blade, and then had my husband rub each leg to see if he could tell the difference (if only all scientific experiments were so much fun!). He guessed right but said he could barely tell. So if each blade will last at least six months, I now have a supply of blades for the next four years. Maybe then I'll consider trying the safety razor.
As far as shaving cream goes, I always used plain old soap when I was a teenager, and I only started using real shaving cream when I got to college because it made me feel more grown-up. But now I'm back to my childish ways.
Photo by Viewoftheworld