You’ve seen the headlines about whales washing up on beaches across the world with their stomachs full of plastic.
And you’ve seen the photos of decomposing seabirds with plastic waste like bottle tops, lighters and razors spilling from their stomachs.
That’s why you’ve decided to take action and reduce the amount of single-use plastic you and your family create.
You’ve replaced those plastic bags and disposable nappies with cloth and ditched the plastic straws in favour of stinless steel or even pasta.
But have you ever thought about your shaving habits?
Many of us don’t consider about shaving when we start a journey towards zero waste.
Yet this habit generates a shocking amount of plastic waste which ends up in landfill or being washed into the oceans.
So, what is the alternative? What is the most eco-friendly way to shave?
Turns out that there are several greener alternatives to your regular shaving habits, including safety razors, razors made from 100% recycled plastics, electric shavers and more ecologically sound shaving products.
Let us explain more.
What’s the Problem With Our Regular Shaving Habits?
The issue lies with how most people shave- using a single-use disposable razor which is made from plastic, wrapped in several layers of plastic packaging and potentially coming home in a plastic bag.
Once used, this razor gets thrown into landfill. Although the metal razor blade itself will soon rust away, the remaining plastic handle doesn’t biodegrade but will sit there for hundreds if not thousands of years.
Multiply this by the fact that in the US alone, consumers throw away an estimated 2 billion razors a year and the fact that razors can’t be recycled, you can see that we have a real ecological problem on our hands.
Eco-Friendly Ways to Shave
You don’t have to stop shaving altogether and turn into a hairy hippy if you want to make more ecologically-sound shopping choices. Here’s how you can enjoy a greener shave.
1. Switch to a safety razor
A safety razor is the closest to a zero-waste shave that you can get. Although they might look a little intimidating, these razors are actually very safe once you get the hang of them and offer a beautifully close shave without costing the earth.
The stainless-steel handle will last forever if you take care of it properly, and once the blade dulls, you can easily replace it with a plastic-free, inexpensive replacement blade.
You can even recycle the whole thing at the end of its natural life.
Of course, safety razors are slightly more expensive than that nasty pack of disposable razors you can buy from your local supermarket. But they are an eco-friendly investment that will keep yet more plastic out of the oceans whilst also keeping you looking groomed.
You do get what you pay for so do your research carefully before shopping to make sure you’re getting best value for money.
2. Choose a reusable razor
If you’re not yet convinced about using a safety razor, why not opt for a reusable plastic razor instead?
Although these aren’t the most eco-friendly shaving option, they are a much better alternative to throwing a whole razor into the rubbish every time you want to shave.
With reusable razors, you don’t have to throw the entire razor away and instead can reuse the handle and just replace the blade cartridges. Many of these reusable razors are made using 100% recycled plastic which will also help reduce your eco-footprint.
3. Opt for electric
Electric shavers might not sound like an eco-friendly option because they demand electricity to work and tend to use a hefty amount of plastic to make. But actually, they’re among the better choices out there.
Whilst they’re initially more expensive than disposable razors, they will last for years (or even decades) if cared for properly. Yes, you will need to plug the shaver into the electricity to use it, but overall, using an electric shaver will demand fewer resources than if you were having a wet shave.
And, as one clever person pointed out, if you switch to solar energy, you won’t even need mains power!
4. Choose a plant-based shaving cream
Finally, many people don’t realise that they don’t have to buy those fancy overpackaged shaving gels to get a good shave.
There are tons of eco-friendly shaving gels and creams that will help you enjoy a smoother shave and nourish your skin without exposing you to harmful chemicals or increasing your plastic waste.
We love the growing range of plant-based shaving gels and lotions which are available these days, many of which come packaged in paper, stainless steel or glass.
Dr Bonner’s liquid soap also works well, as does regular soap.
We highly recommend that you also use a traditional shaving brush to help you lather up- there are many non-vegan options available these days.
Switch to a more eco-friendly shave and you can reduce the amount of plastic waste you’re generating, reduce your impact on the environment and make better shopping choices to benefit us all.
Of course, some of these shaving habits can take a bit of getting used to, but it’s well worth the effort.
Otherwise, you can start the most eco-friendly habit of them all-skip the shave and let it all grow… Yes, even you ladies!
Charlotte Witts is a writer and entrepreneur who wants to show you how easy it is to live a more conscious, zero-waste lifestyle. A confirmed yoga-addict, trail runner and ocean-lover, she currently lives in the Azores where she enjoys the simple pleasures in life.