Shaving is a regular part of many people’s grooming routines, but the millions of disposable razors and blades ending up in landfill every year could be as damaging to our environment as plastic bags and straws.
Disposable plastic razors have been popular since the 1970s, but because they’re made from a complex combination of different materials, including plastic, metal, and rubber, they’re almost impossible to fully recycle.
Many people are starting to switch back to shaving with old-school barbershop style razors or ‘safety razors’ in an effort to reduce waste.
These traditional-style razors have a sturdy metal head that comes apart allowing you to insert a disposable razor blade.
Not only are these razors better for than the environment than plastic disposables, they are often cheaper in the long run (after the initial cost), and cause less irritation to sensitive skin.
If you haven’t got a safety razor yet, see some of the best here.
If you’ve recently decided to start using a safety razor, you’re may be wondering if you can recycle your old razor blades – read on to find out more.
Are Razor Blades Recyclable?
Razor blades are made from steel, which is 100% recyclable.
But there are important safety guidelines when it comes to recycling razor blades, and many council collections will not accept them as part of recycling schemes because of the danger to staff when placed in a recycling bin.
Razor blades are also small and thin enough to get caught up in recycling machinery potentially causing severe damage.
Luckily, there are several safe and environmentally friendly ways to dispose of metal razor blades without causing any harm to people, animals or recycling machinery.
Razor Blade Banks
One of the simplest ways to recycle razor blades safely is to use a blade bank. A blade bank should be made of recyclable metal, and should also have a thin slot where you deposit used blades.
Once it’s full (this will be after many years), you can take the full blade bank to your local recycling centre and place the metal waste bin.
Because the blades can’t get out again once they’re in, there’s no danger to the workers at the recycling centre.
They’re relatively cheap to buy online (see this one on Amazon) , but it’s also cheap and easy to make your own.
To make your own blade bank:
- Find a metal food tin that contains an easily drainable liquid, such as soup.
- Using a craft knife, cut out a line approximately 1/2 inch thick by 2 inches long on the top of the can
- Drain the liquid from the tin. Rinse out well and leave to dry.
- Whenever you finish using a razor blade, insert into the slot on top of the tin.
- Once the tin is full, take to your local recycling centre and dispose of the tin according to guidelines for scrap metal.
Mail Recycling Systems for Razor Blades
Some razor and shaving cream companies have recently started recycling schemes where you can post your used razors or blades for recycling, often for free.
Gillette have recently teamed up with Terracycle, a specialist recycling company that deals with typically hard-to-recycle items, launching a recycling scheme where you can send in old razors and used blades.
Once you sign up to the scheme by email, Gillette will send you free secure packaging within 2-3 weeks to put your razors or blades into, which you can then post by Royal Mail (sign up here).
Always remember to store your used blades safely and follow safety instructions for packaging and posting.