Razor blades need to be kept sharp to ensure you get an effective shave. Sharp blades also reduce the risk of shaving rash and bumps. Unless you have a traditional straight razor, this will mean replacing the old blades and disposing of them safely. Read how to dispose of and recycle razor blades (in the UK).
The main razor blades that can be recycled are those used with double edge (DE) safety razors. We’ll primarily look at how to dispose of and recycle DE razor blades, but first we want to tackle how to dispose of the other varieties of razors and blades.
Disposing of Different Razor Blades
Not all razor blades can be recycled due to the way that they are fixed into the razor. Let’s start by considering which blades from which razors can be recycled.
Disposable razors are designed to be thrown away; handle, blade and all. The blade is attached to the razor handle and can’t be removed so the whole thing has to go into the bin.
When throwing away a disposable razor, wrap the blade end in newspaper or paper, secure with a piece of tape and then throw into the normal bin. This prevents the blades from doing any harm.
While they might be very convenient, disposable razors aren’t environmentally friendly as the plastic doesn’t break down. In the long run, they are also more expensive than a reusable razor with replacement blades.
There are lots of cartridge razors available where the head, which includes the blades, can be replaced. The blades don’t come out of the razor head, however, so the entire head needs to be thrown away.
To dispose of cartridge razor heads, wrap the head in newspaper or waste paper, secure with tape and then throw into the normal bin. Again, this prevents the blades from posing a hazard.
These are more environmentally friendly than fully disposable razors, but the head still contains plastic that won’t break down. They are also more expensive than using a traditional double edge safety razor.
There are lots of different varieties of straight razors available. Traditionally, straight razor blades are fixed to the razor handle and therefore require stropping and honing to keep them sharp, and are not disposable.
However, there are other types of straight razors with replaceable blades. Many of these use double edge safety razor blades which can be slotted into the razor, but you can also get disposable shavette blades that are longer in length. Both of these types of blades can be recycled as they are made purely of metal without any plastic components. To learn how to dispose of replaceable straight razor blades, you can follow the same process for disposing of safety razor blades detailed below.
How To Dispose of Safety Razor Blades
First of all, you probably already know that you can’t simpy throw the blade away in the normal bin. Even when the blade has become dull, it’s still extremely sharp and could pose a significant hazard.
The safest way to dispose of razor blades is to recycle them -- it’s also much more environmentally friendly -- but you can also throw them away in your household waste if you store them correctly.
How To Dispose of Safety Razor Blades
Collect The Blades Safely
When you remove the blade from your safety razor, it’s important that you immediately put it somewhere safe where you can’t encounter it accidently or where children could find it. Collecting the blades also means that you can dispose of them all in one go, rather than one at a time.
There are a few different ways to collect the blades safely.
- Use the old case
Many safety razor blades come in packaging that has an extra part designed to collect the used blades. This is usually a slotted component in the packaging. A pack of the Feather Hi-Stainless Blades is a great example of this. It has a compartment on the back of the case designed to store used blades. It’s convenient, but is only designed to store around 10 blades at a time.
- Make a blade bank
Use an old container or jar to collect up all your old blades. You have to make sure that it can be sealed up securely so there’s no risk of it being knocked and the blades coming out. Find something with a plastic lid and cut a small slot in the top through which to post the blades. Seal the lid to the rest of the container.
Label it properly and keep it out of the way. A blade bank will allow you to collect up a lot of blades before throwing them away once it’s full. However, you can’t recycle them if you follow this technique.
- Buy a blade disposal tin
Blade disposal tins are designed for storing old blades so you can then recycle them all in one go when the tin is full. Most are small in size but still have the capacity to hold around 100 blades, sometimes even more! The blades are kept neatly and safely out of the way.
The advantage to this technique is that the tin itself can also be recycled along with the blades so you don’t have to worry about emptying it at the end.
Disposing of The Blades
From the razor blade container
If you’ve used the first technique and filled your razor blade packaging compartment, you can simply throw it away in your normal rubbish once it’s full. The compartment in the container will keep the blades from posing a hazard to people or animals.
With a blade bank
If you’ve made your own blade bank, you can also just throw this away in your normal rubbish. Seal the slot in the top using paper and tape (or similar) and throw the whole thing into your normal household waste bin.
However, neither of these two methods allow you to recycle the blades. A lot of people choose to use safety razors because it can be a zero waste option as the blades can be recycled after use.
How To Recycle Safety Razor Blades
Because safety razor blades are made entirely of metal, they can be recycled. You’ll need to check with your local authority on what can be recycled in your area, but most places in the UK will make it easy to recycle your safety razor blades.
Once you’ve collected them up, you can take them to your local recycling centre and put them into the scrap metal container. You’ll be able to find your nearest recycling centre by visiting your local authority website.
The most effective and efficient way to do this is to invest in a recyclable disposal tin. Collect up all your blades in the tin and then the whole thing can be recycled in one go. It’s safe and practical. You might even be able to put this straight into your plastics and metals wheelie bin, depending on your local recycling authority.