news

Razor blade disposal

Jaco Grobler

What you got to love about safety razors is the fact that they are environmentally friendly; you'll only need a shoe box full of blades to last you 50 years and they contain no non recyclable plastic bits! Spending a few bob to fill up a box of blades makes lots of sense, it saves you loads of money, takes up very little space and gives you the peace of mind that you will be knocking out cool shaves for years while others will be looting stores or scraping beard off their chins with old food tins found in landfill! I am of course referring to the post apocalyptic South Africa soon to follow a) Eskom's imminent failure, b) Our water resources running dry or c) the removal of National braai day from the public holiday list.


   
Your 50 years worth of stash will only weigh between 2 and 3 kg in total, and when you consider the simple manufacturing methods and also the small quantity of raw materials used in the process, it is easy to see why it is a very sensible way of shaving. We have to start limiting the resources we use over our lifetimes and this is one of the coolest, easiest switches to make, bar the fact that you will save a fortune! Talk to us for bulk orders on blades and we will discount our regular price, alternatively we could point you in the right direction to find a supplier near you. Most people are not aware that many supermarkets stock double edged blades at their cigarette counters, the retailers 'hiding' of the blades is quite understandable though, who would want to sell a R2 blade if you can sell a R69 blade? We do strongly advise to try all blades available locally first though, they are very different from each other, and you don't want to stock up on a lifetime's worth of blades that are not best suited to your skin/hair/beard. Our test pack is a wise choice to find the blade best suited to your needs, and we highly recommend using it if you are a 'one-blade-person'. Many of us choose to vary blades according to our personal needs, hardware used, shaving styles and even the season of year.

 

Before we get to disposal we have to look at post-use storage. Getting rid of individual blades is cumbersome to say the least, and it is wise to get yourself a blade bank for interim storage, one simply deposits the blade into the container and only empty it when required. The blades are thin and light, you can store a stack of them before the container requires disposal or emptying out. We have some blade banks on our website, and even a tiny container as pictured below will store 4 to 5 years worth of blades if you are a regular shaver. The Rockwell blade bank below also has a removable base, making blade removal a breeze, and at R50 you won't find a cheaper re-usable option. 



You can also improvise and use available containers. Piggy banks and money tins work very well as they already have the correct size slot and they can usually be opened without breaking them. Do use a bit of discretion, glass and porcelain may not be the best thing to use when you have tiled floors, metal would be preferable. Always store your bank and blades (new and old) out of reach of kids and pets, they are cute, but so damn inquisitive. You can also make your own blade bank; Buy a tin of evaporated milk or similar canned fluid from the supermarket. Execute light taps with the palm of your hand on the butt of a sharp knife pointed onto the centre top part of the tin until the gap is wide enough to fit a blade, empty the contents and rinse before use. The tin can be painted, wrapped or made pretty in any way you see fit. Here is a vid with some pointers, I'd just skip the taking off the lid bit, unless you use a tin with solid food in it. This type of blade bank doesn't need to be emptied, and one can simply drop them off at the metal recyclers every decade or so.



If you prefer a reusable bank, you can carefully remove the blades, align them on a hard surface like a deck of cards, and wrap them in tape, we prefer paper tape or masking tape as it is friendlier to our environment. Depending on your blade bank this can be quite a process, it took me about 10 minutes (without tools) to get 2/3 years worth of blades from my 'Splitty', and rushing this part is not advised. Once you got it wrapped up, drop it off at the recyclers or bury it in your garden should you have a safe spot. Although made of stainless steel, blades are very thin and will degrade back to mineral form in about a tenth of the time it takes a water bottle to degrade. Many cities will also allow taped up blades to be included with your household trash, as the blades will no longer cut open garbage bags, or injure handlers working in the municipal facilities. If you live in an old house you may be lucky enough to have a slot for blade disposal in your bathroom cabinet, in bygone days a cavity was left in the wall, and all blades would find a final resting place somewhere between the brickwork of your walls and the foundation.



 Tips*

  • Do get at least one pack of Feather or Merkur blades from our store, they come in a re-usable plastic case that takes new blades in the front (approx 10-15), and old ones in the rear (15 to 20 of them), very handy when travelling as it is safe and compact. See pic below.
  • Take your time when emptying your blade bank, not only is this the most likely of times when you will cut yourself, the blades could also have some corrosion on them which presents a higher probability of infection when nicked.
  • Dry your blade before depositing it in the bank, it will be less yucky when you take the lot out, avoids corrosion, and it will prevent your re-usable blade bank from rusting prematurely
  • Keep a pen or pencil and needle-nose pliers handy when emptying a piggy-bank of blades and use these to align and then remove the old blades. Prodding your fingers into the hole in the bottom to remove blades is not advised, the blades are thin and can quite easily be manipulated with the pliers once the edges are near the opening.
  • Think about a few uses for discarded blades, you'd be amazed at how handy they become once you get used to them, adding some masking tape to one cutting edge to form a grip makes it a great tool for cutting, slicing and scraping, my MIL says nothing works better when prepping greenbeans.