How to keep your razors from contributing to landfill waste

  • This photo, in New York, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, shows a Col. Ichabod Conk shave set and Merkur double-edge razor blades. Remember the old-school safety razor your grandfather used? It’s making a comeback. Trendy direct-to-consumer brands have reintroduced them to younger generations. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) Richard Drew

Associated Press
Published: 8/12/2019 12:17:06 PM

How bad is your disposable razor for the environment? The question is gaining attention among consumers amid a growing global campaign against plastic waste, with cities and countries introducing bans on single-use plastic bags and straws.

Don’t worry, there’s no talk of banning your razor, which isn’t exactly single use. Still, billions of plastic razors and refill blade cartridges get tossed in landfills each year. Municipal recycling programs in the U.S. will not accept them because they are sharp objects made of mixed materials.

What can be done? Well, there are no perfectly convenient options, aside from foregoing shaving altogether. For those concerned about an eco-friendlier shave, here are some things to know.

FATE OF DISPOSABLE RAZORS

The Environmental Protection Agency once estimated that 2 billion razors and refill blades get tossed out in the U.S. each year. That figure is widely cited by recycling advocates and startups marketing eco-friendly razors. Gillette, the world’s leading razor brand, also cites the number on a website detailing a new recycling program for razors launched earlier this year.

But the figure appears to date back to an EPA campaign from the late 1980s against a national “garbage crisis.” A 1990 “Environmental Consumer’s Handbook” on the EPA’s website says the U.S. produces “2 billion throwaway razors and blades” each year. The EPA now says it does not track the impact of disposable razors on the environment and has no update on the figure.




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