Friday, March 25, 2011

Hippies Part 2 (without the shaggy beard)

In keeping with the theme of Part 1 of being more environmentally friendly, this part focuses on how i became interested in traditional wet shaving because of this.

I knew that Americans were wasteful, but check out this survey I found over at PBS:

If the rest of the world consumed at the rate Americans do, how many planets worth of resources would be needed to cover this consumption?

Five planets worth of resources would be needed to enable the rest of the world to consume at the rate Americans do. Source: ABC News:Diapers and Showers and Sodas, Oh My!

How many gallons of water does an American use over a lifetime?

1.8 millions gallons of water are used over a lifetime, enough to fill almost three Olympic size swimming pools. Source: National Geographic: Human Footprint

Less than 4 percent of the world's children are American. Whatpercent of the world's toys do American children consume?

American kids consume more than 40% of the world's toys. Source: The Morning News: Garbage Night

How many plastic bottles does the U.S. throw away every second?
America discards 694 plastic bottles every second or 60 milli
on plastic bottles each day. Source: National Geographic: Human Footprint

How much garbage does the average American produce everyday?
The average American produces 4.6 pounds of waste per person per day
or 1,657pounds a year. Source: EPA: Municipal Solid Waste

In America, how many pounds of fooda year go to waste?

About 96 billion pounds of food go to waste each year in the United States. Source: EPA: Waste Not/Want Not WASTES

If just 5 percent of the food Americans waste was used, how many people could be fed daily?
Four million people could be fed each day if 5 percent of the food Americans wasted was used. Source: NY Times: One Country's Table Scraps, Another Country's Meal

With 5 percent of the world's population, America uses what percentage of the world's energy?

America uses 25% of the world's energy. Source: BostonGlobe: Alarm sounds on US population boom

America is responsible for what percentage of the world's automotivecarbon dioxide emissions?

The U.S. is responsible for 45% of the world's automotive carbon dioxideemissions. Source: EnvironmentNewsService

Kinda puts things into perspective huh? I've very proud to live in a countrywhere I'm free and have the luxuries that I do. I have so many things I take for granted. When reading that survey and looking at pictures of the waste impact of Americans I feel ashamed. I feel like I want to help. How can I start? How does this have anything to do with Traditional Wet Shaving?

Picture this... It's still dark outside when your alarm goes off in the morning. You drag yourself out of bed to hop in the shower. After your shower, you're feeling refreshed and clean. Now that you’re a little bit more awake it's time to shave. After finishing shaving you realize that you've been using that razor for about a week now. Now it's time get rid of it. Where does it go after it's dull and you no longer use it? That's right, the trash.

You've just thrown away something that could ultimately have been recycled andreused into something else! Instead it's going to go into the landfill to be piled up among the other things that American’s throw away. If you use a plastic disposable non cartridge razor, how long does it last? Maybe 4 or 5 shaves? Alright I’ll give you points that you saved a few bucks by using the plastic disposable razor. However, you can't just toss it you’re your recyclebin because of the metal blade inside of the plastic handle. Although, you can ultimately figure out a way to recycle it, but that requires the time to figure out how to crush or break the razor enough for you to dislodge the tiny piece of metal blade; and if that's the case then good luck not cutting up yourhands or anything else. If you do happen to separate the two, you can recycle it. That's a lot of work don’t yathink? I wonder how many people go through that? Too much hassle.

So it's added to the garbage like everything else.

You don't use a disposable razor? Then you must use a cartridge razor. Yes, that Mach 3 has been a good faithful razor the last few years. I agree, it's a good razor, and the new Gillette Proglide fusion is a better razor than the mach 3, but how is it made? Yep, more plastic. Now you can argue that cartridge razors are more environmentally friendly than disposable razors. Yeah, I'll buy that. Instead of throwing away the whole razor, you only throwing away that little cartridge head. Less waste. Good for you. Only... you can't recycle that either. You can't keep that from ending up in a land f
ill. A fusion or Mach three razor has LOTS of plastic, rubber strips, and metalblades. I dare you to try and take that apart after every shave to recycle it.

So it's added to the garbage like everything else.

What kind of shaving cream do you use? barbasol? Edge? Any type of "Goo in a can"? Yes, most people use that stuff. The problem is. When it's empty, what do you do? Do you take the time to pop off the plastic nozzle and spout? Do you take the time do make sure it's completely empty before throwing it away? do you throw it in your metal/aluminum recycle bin? no.

So it's added to the garbage like everything else.

Traditional wet shaving can be one of the more green and eco-friendly ways to shave. If you use a metal DE razor, they are constructed so well, that you can easily get a lifetime worth of shaves from it. They are constructed so well, that I even have a Gillette razor from the 1940's. You think that little flimsy Mach 3 handle will last 70 years? And I doubt those mach 3 cartridgeswill be around in 70 years.

Blades for the DE razor? Paper thin, all metal, no plastic, completely recyclable. I've got an aluminum blade "bank" that will hold several years worth of blades. When it's full, I place it in my aluminum recycle bin. Not waste!

Nothing added to the garbage.

Shave cream? Most creams today come in either plastic squeeze tubs (rinse after use and recycle), metal tubes (rinse and recycle) or plastic screw top tubes (keep and refill with same cream from a refill tub... which will happen to be plastic and can be recyclable) which can be rinsed and recycled as well.

Nothing added to the garbage.

Shave soap? Most shave soaps come in a cardboard or paper box both of which can be recycled. Some come in wooden bowls (it's wood. Naturally decaying matter. not artificial, so when you're done, you can either throw it in the trash and not worry because it will eventually be broken down over the years. Or, you could toss it on your next campfire or in your fireplace.) Also most buy a refill puck (paper box - recycled) to drop in the bowl. And I've seen some that come in either glass bowls or plastic bowls, both which can eventually be recycled when done.

Nothing added to the garbage...

Are you detecting a trend? You see, not only are DE blades a mere fraction the price of Cartridge replacement blades, but they take up way less space and are much easier to recycle.

My only disclaimer is to watch out for how much water you're using. If you're used to shaving in the shower (with the water running) then opt for shaving in the sink after your shower. If you shave at the sink, opt for filling up the sink with hot water and using the sink full of water to rinse your blade and face afterwards instead of leaving the faucet running while rinsing your razor and face.

As you can see, not only is traditional wet shaving a fun hobby, able to give you a better shave, and make you feel like a million bucks, but traditional wet shaving can help you in your efforts to be a better steward of the earth and want to be more green. Recycle, reduce, reuse.

For more information and tips on how to be more eco-friendly, I would suggest visiting this website ( No, this isn't an endorsement or anything.

Happy Shaving!

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