Welcome to Bay Disposal’s blog, where we research and report on environmentally-friendly, green lifestyle questions, bringing you practical ecological solutions. This week we’re looking at disposable razors, razor cartridges, and straight razor blades, and how to safely throw them away without harming yourself, your family, pets, sanitation workers, and innocent wildlife.

Ready? Let’s get sharp.

Men, women, teenagers; we all remove hair in some capacity. According to the EPA, 2 billion disposable razors are thrown away per year in the U.S. This lifelong hair removal campaign can become costly, irritating, and dangerous. It’s important to know the facts in order to make responsible decisions—not just about disposal, but the way you handle your razors, and even which hair removal methods you use.

Unfortunately, disposable razors, cartridge razors, and razor blades are NOT recyclable. This is due to the potential risks to sanitation workers who must sort recyclables, and any animals that may come into contact with the waste. The handles of plastic disposable razors may be recyclable, but you’d need to remove the metal razor head.

Razors & Blades

The best way to dispose of used, dull razors is to store them in a box, tin, or can until it’s relatively full. Store-bought “blade banks” are a safe option, but if you’re looking to save money you could always DIY with an old Altoids tin, empty out a can of broth through a narrow slit, or simply place in cardboard or wrap in paper.

No matter which of these blade banks you decide to utilize, make sure to seal it tightly with duct tape or something equally sturdy and sticky. The whole point is to contain the sharp blade edges safely and securely.

Shave Less

One way to cut down on your hair removal waste is to shave less or stop altogether, but we’re here to find alternative options, not ruin your dating life.

Get More

A quality razor blade is worth more than a few shaves. Get more out of a single blade by taking good care of it. A thorough rinse post-shave to remove all hairs, oils, soap suds, and dead skin is critical to lengthening the life of your razors. Wipe the blades down with a towel or some denim-go the opposite direction than you do when shaving. This will clear out any remaining debris from between the razors and smooth out tiny nicks in the metal that inevitably occur (this is how dullness begins).

Rust sets in when metal is exposed to moisture and oxygen. Keep rust at bay for longer, by keeping your razor in rubbing alcohol after you’ve rinsed and wiped it carefully. This will keep it safe from rust, allow you to use it much longer, save you precious dollars, and keep lots of razors out of landfills. Great job!

Waste Less

Razors and razor blades will always pose some level of risk as long as we use and toss them. Consider alternative hair removal options which cost less over time and cause far less harm to the environment.

Electric razors are an often overlooked alternative, with a far lower ecological impact than traditional wet razors. Just be sure to pick a good quality, long lasting one, as it may not be recyclable when it does eventually stop working.

Waxing is another eco friendly alternative. It may cost more upfront, but in the long run will be cheaper than the regular purchasing of disposable razors or razor blade cartridges. Results can last for one month, or even a few depending on your skin and hair. Even better, there is no hazardous waste associated—just some hairy wax on some linen. Home kits are available at most pharmacies, or you can have a professional take care of it.

Laser hair removal, while definitely pricey in the moment, may only require a few sessions and then the occasional touch up for long lasting (sometimes permanent) results. Laser hair removal is available at medical spas, or medi-spas, which can be found all over Hampton Roads.

Go Organic

Finally, shaving cream often contains harmful toxins which get washed down your drain and back into the ecosystem. Switch to a natural soap, or try using coconut oil, aloe vera, or making your own (Pinterest is your ally here).

We hope you’ve enjoyed our overview of eco friendly hair removal as well as razor and razor blade disposal. Go forth, and groom responsibly!