By Jamie Skinner, co-founder of UK-based sustainable brand Jungle Culture
Look around a “normal” British bathroom,
past the stoneware tiles and porcelain tubs and what reveals itself is a
collection of plastic-cased toiletries lining every available surface.
Clustered in one corner, our shower gels, shampoos and conditioners. Above the sink sits our tubed toothpastes and bottles of Listerine. Peer round the toilet and tucked in discreetly sits an assortment of cleaning supplies.
Open a cupboard and out falls our plastic razor, Gillette, Venus or Wilkinson no doubt. As a society we’ve been brainwashed into thinking that those are the only available options. A study conducted in 1990 and shared by USA Today estimates that more than 2 billion plastic razors and blades are thrown away every year in the US alone.
Staggeringly, that figure is from just one country and was predicted at a time when the world population was just over 5 billion. With global populations soaring and our thirst for grooming products rising, imagine how many throwaway razors are being produced in 2023 ...
Many will argue that the solution is simple. Don’t shave. But in a world where judgments are made quickly, a world of 280 characters and 15 second video snippets, who can afford to make a bad first impression?
For those of us that prefer no hair and no waste, here is a simple step-by-step guide that will help you rid at least one plastic problem from your bathroom.
Razor alternatives, unless you are daring enough to shave with a knife (like this guy), are broadly separated into 3 options.
What is it?
Straight razors are the OG of shaving tools.
Also known as cut throats (not great for PR), the first steel version of this
classic shaving tool was produced in Sheffield in the 1600s.
Starting at £4.99 or $6.00 on Amazon for a basic straight razor,
this is your most budget option, although we’d advise to invest around £15-20 ($18-24) to nab yourself a high-quality and long-lasting razor.
What is it?
Safety razors are the next generation of
shaving tools and clearly razor producers learned from their mistakes when
naming this clever little instrument. Like cut throats, safety razors use
double edged blades and no electricity. The key difference is the ridged guard
placed underneath the razor head which protects the user, making it more
difficult to cut yourself.
Safety razors start at around £10.00 ($12.00), but
we’d recommend spending a little bit more to guarantee a long-lasting and
well-built product. These reusable safety razors from Jungle Culture
will set you back £18.99 ($22.86) but come with a 5-year guarantee.
What is it?
Electric razors are the ultimate modern
shaving solution. They come in all shapes and sizes, and are normally
rechargeable, but some also run on battery power. Unlike our previous two
options, electric razors do not generally have replaceable blades, so the price
you pay for the razor includes everything.
The cheapest electric razors come in at
around £20.00 ($24.00), but we’d suggest paying a lot more than this. For a reliable
electric razor, £60.00+ (around $72.00) is a good starting point. Here is one at the lower end of the scale that
we can vouch for.
Shaving waste is not
limited to the razor base. Blades, shaving foam and aftercare balms all
contribute to our overall household waste, so here are a few options for
waste-free shaving accessories:
Razor blades - £0.13 ($0.15)/ per blade
Shaving soap - £6.49 ($7.81)/per 6 months
Shaving balm - £17.95 ($21.61)/per 6 months
Now that you’ve got the tools, you need to learn how to use them!
In the past, barbers would shave a balloon to see if they were able to shave a customer without cutting them. Testing on balloons may sound fun, but we’re trying to avoid waste, so test your skills on your arm or leg.
Electric razors vary by type, but read the instructions that come with your razor and you should be okay!
When your razors and razor blades come to
the end of their life, you should recycle them to make sure that they don’t end
up in landfill sites.
Sadly, all razor blades are coated with a Teflon-esque material that prevents recycling at a normal recycling facility, but you can collect together your shaving waste and send everything (cost-free) to Terracycle who are a specialist recycling company.
And there we have it, waste-free shaving in 4 easy steps!
If you have any other tips for reducing bathroom waste, leave them in the comments on social media or send me a message!