Tomorrow is Earth Day. This day is set aside every year to demonstrate support for the environment, and it rang true for one of the reasons I got into traditional wet shaving. In the photo on the left, I have included a typical collection of shaving supplies that is found in many homes. It is found in my home, the last remnants of my shaving days before I found this new hobby. On the right, you see some of the gear I have replaced those items with. Let me take you thru them:
First, the shaving foam. The red can is a pretty typical foaming lubricant used by many shavers. The first thing that jumps out at me now that I look back is the explosive symbol. That’s right, you are putting something on your face that comes in a container that can explode. There are chemicals in this can that are there to help get the foam to expand and come out of the can, propellants as they are called. This stuff isn’t great for your body and it sure isn’t good for the environment. The lid is plastic, there is coating on the can to help inhibit rust, all not great for the environment. And if you are a daily shaver, you will go thru a few of these a year for sure. Now compare to the right, you will see a 3oz tin of shaving soap. This soap and many other is made by artisans with pretty standard and safe soap ingredients. This particular container is made of metal so it can be recycled. Others come in plastic (or glass/ceramic/wood), but the soap tends to come in a quantity that will last a long time. Even then you can generally buy refill product to re-use the tub. Depending on how often you shave and how you load, a larger shave soap can last you 6 months to a year. A pretty great savings here.
Next, the razor. On the left, there are disposable razors and disposable cartridge razors. Just look at all that plastic, that all ends up in the landfill. The cartridges also come in plastic sleeves, more plastic. And the metal, well it is contained inside the plastic, so it usually hits the landfill as well. Now to the right, you will see a typical double edge safety razor and blades. The razor itself is built to stand the test of time, a quality razor well cared for can last you a lifetime. The one pictured is a Gillette Tech from around the 1950s and I still use it today, it is a great shaver. The blades, they usually come individually wrapped in paper and then inside a cardboard *tuck*. The packaging is recyclable, and the blades, once you have used them a few times, you store in a blade bank and take to a location that can recycle for you. With this method, you don’t need any packaging to hit the landfill. Or you can opt for a shavette like pictured and use recyclable blades in it. And if you really don’t like the idea of blades, you can get a straight razor, hone it yourself, and never need another blade at all.
So how about the brush? Well the one pictured is horse hair with a wooden handle. The hair is harvested without any harm to the animal, so if that is a concern, this animal would be treated ethically. If natural animal hair is an issue, you can even look at synthetic brush options. The handle is made from wood, but you can also get metal and acrylic ones as well. The idea is that you can get a great brush and not have to compromise your beliefs, ethical, environmental, animal or otherwise.
So as you can see, with just a small adjustment to your hardware, you can be doing something for the environment. Every little bit of plastic that can be kept out of the landfill helps. Start today, a great way to honor Earth Day this year, and you will soon be seeing all the other benefits that come along with traditional wet shaving.
Stay tuned for further reading on #whyITraditionalWetShave