NEW YORK — 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.
For those concerned about an eco-friendlier shave, here are some things to know.
How to recycle
The French company BIC started a razor recycling program in France a few years ago that didn’t last.
Gillette is trying out a similar idea in the U.S. in partnership with Terracycle, an organization that specializes in hard-to-recycle waste. All brands of razors are accepted.
The easiest option is mailing the razors to Terracycle, but the shipping costs are on you. At no cost, you can deliver razors to drop-off centers on Terracycle’s interactive map. But with only 200 locations so far, the option is not practical for many.
Double-edged safety razors come back
Safety razors are built to last, usually made of materials like steel or chrome. The only waste is the steel blades, and some municipalities recycle them. Oui founder Karen Young said she’s developing a map for her site to show which ones.
The tricky thing is that safety razors come with a higher upfront cost, ranging anywhere from $15 to more than $200 depending on the brand. However, the refill blades are cheap, as low as 20 cents each, compared to $2 for the average modern cartridge.
You can familiarize yourself with established brands through long-time retailers like GroomingLounge.com and The Art of Shaving.
Other ec0-friendly options
Safety razors are not made for rushed morning routines. And frequent fliers be warned: you can’t throw the blades into your carry-on luggage.
If it’s not for you, at least switching to a cartridge with a reusable handle reduces the waste.