Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Disposable Razors in the Landfill

Disposable razors gained immediate popularity as a convenient alternative to the straightedge blade that had to be re-sharpened.

“In 1847 William Henson invented the hoe-shaped razor that most of us have in our medicine cabinets, and in 1895 a traveling salesman named King Camp Gillette (pictured) combined this shape with the idea of shaving with a disposable double-edged blade. 

The resulting safety razor eventually made Gillette a fortune and solved the hassle of having to remove the razor's blade to sharpen it every few shaves.
Although today’s disposable razors are far from what the original disposables were, they were a step in the right direction in a razor for shorter-term use that had a definite end t its life and usefulness. Years later…enter the plastic disposable razors that we know today.

Are these new disposable razors recyclable? Well, yes and no. The plastic is technically a recyclable material, but when it has a metal blade attached, it becomes a mixed commodity and will most likely be landfilled if it’s not separated before the recycling process begins.

It’s very costly and virtually impossible to separate some commodities in order for them to be recycled. In these cases, items end up in the landfill.

“The EPA estimates that 2 billion razors are thrown away each year.” In the United States, over two billion plastic razors are thrown away each year, but a significant amount doesn't end up in landfills.

In fact, 32 percent of plastic products end up in the ocean. To put this into perspective, that amounts to a fully loaded dump trunk pouring plastic into the ocean every minute.”

“The vast dump of plastic waste swirling in the Pacific Ocean is now bigger than France, Germany and Spain combined -- far larger than previously feared -- and is growing rapidly, according to a study published on March 22, 2018.”

Considering that the average person shaves 2-3 times per week and a disposable razor lasts for approximately 10 shaves, each person who shaves with disposable razors replaces them about every 5 or 6 weeks. Multiply those numbers by each person of shaving age and several hundred thousand disposable razors get used each year and, most likely, get thrown away.

Some smaller recycling centers can accept disposable razors but some cannot. Check with yours to see if you can add razors to your recycling.

For more information on recyclable items visit

No comments:

Post a Comment