UPDATED: 04/20/11 | Originally Published: 10/09/09
The idea of using a disposable shaver/razor really makes me feel wasteful. Do you have any suggestions for an eco-friendly alternative?
I'm with you when it comes to eco-shaving. Disposable razors seem like the ultimate throwaway, don't they? In fact, they are — two billion of them are sold and tossed every year in the U.S. alone, along with the paper and plastic packaging they come in, but this is actually one product where several green and ultimately money-saving options exist.
For example, a durable electric shaver uses electricity, but saves money on shaving cream, hot water, and as much as $60 a year in throwaway razors. Plus, an electric razor reduces the amount of trash you toss since you don't discard empty shaving cream cans every few weeks.
What to Look for When You Shop
Rechargeable Electric Razors: Rechargeables can be expensive to purchase initially, but their long life usually warrants the up-front cash outlay. If you recharge them using a solar charger, you can reduce the amount of energy they use considerably. Unlike other models, the Braun Pulsonic Shaver contains no cadmium, lead, or mercury in its components, and its Smart Plug technology has earned it an Energy Star® rating for energy efficiency from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Straight Razors: Straight razors use no energy other than your own, but be careful and keep a box of band-aids at the ready. In place of shaving cream, many men use a shaving brush and soap for a very low cost, low-tech approach that will ultimately reduce the amount of new products you need to purchase, too. But remember! You can't take the straight razor onto an airplane in a carry-on. If you travel a lot, you'll probably still want an electric razor or a reusable razor with disposable blades.
Reusable Razors With Disposable Blades: If you use a reusable razor but disposable blades, consider the Razor Saver. This little gadget sharpens blades so that you can extend their life from 5-10 shaves per blade to a longer-lasting 130 shaves.
Disposable Razors: If you absolutely must use a disposable razor, choose one from the likes of Recycline. Recycline's Preserve razors are made with recycled plastic and can be recycled in any community that accepts #5 plastics.
Shaving Cream: Yes, shaving cream can be green, too. Keep an eye out for shaving creams whose ingredients are organic or fragrance-free, and for shaving creams that are packaged in materials recyclable in your area. Check Earth911 to find out what aluminums and plastics are recyclable in your area.
Now that you're on a roll, want to share your own eco-friendly personal care tips? I thought so! Share 'em below.
Diane MacEachern is the author of Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World, and a popular blog, Big Green Purse.