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The outrageous cost and environmental damage of disposables

I’ve just done a brief recce of razor blade prices at our local supermarket and Warehouse store. I’ll convert NZD to USD for the sake of simplicity. I suspect relative prices will be similar, but why not check them out for yourself?

Gillette Fusion 2 5-blade cartridges: 4 for $15.25. Price per blade = $3.81

Gillette Fusion 2 new razor with three blades: $10.97. Price per blade = $3.65

Gillette Mach 3 3-blade cartridges: 4 for $10. Price per blade = $2.50

Schick Ultra 2-blade cartridges: 4 for $7.32. Price per blade = $1.83

Gillette Blue IIs 2-blade razors: 5 for $3.65. Price per blade = 73c

Home Brand generic DE razor blades made in USA: 10 for $2.44. Price per blade = 24c

I overheard a bloke telling another bloke he bought a new Fusion razor with three blades each time and just threw his old one out. It was cheaper than buying replacement blades.

What a colossal waste! Both for the environment and your pocket. It’s very similar to cheaper computer printers where it costs less to buy a new one complete with cartridges rather than replace the cartridges alone. Something’s very wrong here!

Here’s some more math: Cost saving of DE blades over Gillette Fusion = $3.57 per blade. You would only have to go through 11 Fusion blades before you had paid for a brand new $40 razor that will last a lifetime! Even giving up the Blue II for a DE safety razor will save you money.
 
It all sounds so good on paper ... the math and logic are correct, there are no flaws in your reasoning.

But for some reason, I (and many others) spend far MORE on wet-shaving supplies than we ever did on cartridge razors and aerosol goo.

And you know what? I don't care. I've currently got around 400 DE blades, and I'm still buying more. I've got easily 20 or more types of creams and soaps, and I'm still buying more. I've got 4 Merkur razors on my counter to choose from, and I'm still buying more. I've got around a dozen vintage Gillettes that I haven't seen in 2 months because they're packed away in a drawer ... You get the idea.

Even if DE blades cost as much as a Fusion cartridge, I'd stick to wet-shaving, for the reasons that it gives me a better shave, and its a whole lot more fun.

The pay-off comes when I meet friends and family that haven't seen me for a while, and they all say "Wow ... You look GOOD!"
 
Yes, but it's not just how much you save (though that's nice), think about the horrible impact of all that plasticky stuff that just gets dumped.

The point being that, as a safety razor user, not only are are you a pretty cool, retro hip dude, you are also a fiscally responsible savvy investor and a green and caring environmental warrior.
 
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Absolutely. Your math and reasoning are flawless, and we'll all sign up to it. Some of us make this a hobby, and we buy more products, so in principle we create more waste and we spend more money.

Even then, if we ever did stop with the "hobby" aspect and just get great shaves, we'd save a ton of money and we'd use up the collected products--all those creams and soaps we collect--over time. So, that argument (that we create waste by buying lots of stuff) can go away if we want it to.

I'd also agree with those who suggest wetshaving products are more environmentallly friendly: recyclable blade vs cartridge, soap in a paper wrapper vs goo in a can, waste disposal = soap lather vs synthetic stuff, cream containers that can be repurposed to hold soaps, etc. LetterK wrote a good piece a while back on some of the benefits of wetshaving from a simplicity and environmental standpoint.

Oh...and welcome to B&B!
 
Yes, but it's not just how much you save (though that's nice), think about the horrible impact of all that plasticky stuff that just gets dumped.

To be fair, that's a tad harsh on the "plasticky stuff". In terms of environmental damage the factors to consider are: energy used to make product, methods used to make product, useful life of product and environmental damage cause by disposal.

Metals use far higher quantities of energy to manufacture than plastics, and certain metals are worse than others e.g. Aluminium compared to steel.

The useful life of the product is also very important, if the metal product lasts N units of time and takes X units of energy to produce then the relative energy investment is X/N. If a plastic razor lasts N/50 units of time and takes Y units energy then 50Y/N is your energy investment. If Y is less than X/50, then the more environmentally object is the plastic razor.

Of course one has to factor in the damage done by the manufacturing process, because certain processes are highly ecologically damaging. This is why the Prius is incredibly bad for the environment, it may burn very little fuel, but it requires a huge amount of damage to the environment to produce. This is because it uses Aluminium, which is amongst the worst metals to smelt from ore due to the large quantity of energy and highly toxic chemicals used. As well as all of the elecrtronics which also require a lot of damage to manufacture due to highly toxic chemicals, there are the Lithium Ion batteries which are amongst the nastiest things manufactured today.

There was an article in either New Scientist or Scientific American, after taking an energy audit of a Prius; the author found that driving a Land Rover for 20 years would cause the same over all environmental damage as driving a Prius for the same number of years, of course assuming the same mileages.

EDIT

Sorry about the Grammer, I've been up all night.
 
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I daren't argue with that equation! Except that the lifespan for plastic disposable junk is infinitesimal (maybe just a few weeks as discussed above) compared with practically forever for metal razors. The cost of plastic production is also very high. Factor in the fact that it is non biodegradable whereas metal just quietly rusts back into the landscape.

Energy consumed in automobile production may be high, but in general modern cars perform better than older cars (though my old one, which is German, is going very nicely). Otherwise recycling would be the best possible solution, we'd all drive round in ancient cars and nobody would buy anything new.

Safety razors are hardly a high-tech product so you don't need to worry about technology becoming suddenly obsolescent or having to retool.

I can't help but smile, though, when electric cars are held out to be environmental saviors. Where does the electricity come from? Coal, gas, nuclear? Anybody fancy a nuclear-powered electric razor?

Cheers,
David

------------

The best proof of intelligent alien life is that none of them have ever visited.
 
It all sounds so good on paper ... the math and logic are correct, there are no flaws in your reasoning.

But for some reason, I (and many others) spend far MORE on wet-shaving supplies than we ever did on cartridge razors and aerosol goo.QUOTE]

I would suggest that this is the case for many B&B regulars, but I expect the majority of DE shavers spend less on shaving products than disposable users. One of the main benefits of DE shaving is that it is possible to get a good shave for very little money. Plus the type of products they buy have less environmental impact. Soap generally has less packaging and chemicals than cans of goo.

If it were possible to conduct a poll of all 15,000+ members I would be surprised if more than a small minority had serious ADs.
 
I must admit the ammount I have outlayed on shaving supplies over the past two weeks is probably more than I would have for a year, in saying that I dont regret it because I know that it is a wholesome hobby and is for personal improvement.

If many of us didnt have an aquisition disorder then im sure wetshaving would work out much cheaper. I know shocking isnt it!
 

Luc

"To Wiki or Not To Wiki, That's The Question".
There are numerous threads like this and it always comes to the same conclusion. DE is cheaper. Straight is even cheaper... Like David pointed out, logically it would be cheaper but for some reason, we have to buy more. A soap here, an aftershave there, another brand of blades, another DE while we are at it (spot on Mike).

Is this method of shaving better for the planet? In the end, yes! I will use everything. If I can't, I will sell it!

If one day I stop myself from buying soaps :)001_rolle) and everything that goes with it, then, yes, the planet will be a better place.

I'm not alone in this but I have wetshaving stuff in the bathroom, in the living room and even an emergency stash in the bedroom (yes, ready for everything). I think I should hide something at work in case of a disaster!
 
8<
Gillette Fusion 2 5-blade cartridges: 4 for $15.25. Price per blade = $3.81

Yeah, but according to Gillette you only need 12 of them in one year. :001_smile

But they probably took a Scandinavian guy as a model (who are destined to go BBS through life even without shaving :001_smile), don't count the hollidays and weekends, ....

Granted, if you are a B&B member, you probably won't save any money although you potentionally could.
I have a good Gillette razor (blackhandled super adjustable) which I like so much I don't give a damn about others, still using the old Wilkinson brush from my dad, but the only thing I really can spend money on are soaps.
On the other hand, soaps are not completely related to DE shaving alone, so I don't think that counts (a mach3 user might be bitten as well by soaps) and I know I'll use every soap I buy.
And everything I buy NOW, is safe from inflation.:001_smile
 

Luc

"To Wiki or Not To Wiki, That's The Question".
Yeah, but according to Gillette you only need 12 of them in one year. :001_smile

But they probably took a Scandinavian guy as a model (who are destined to go BBS through life even without shaving :001_smile), don't count the hollidays and weekends, ....

Granted, if you are a B&B member, you probably won't save any money although you potentionally could.
I have a good Gillette razor (blackhandled super adjustable) which I like so much I don't give a damn about others, still using the old Wilkinson brush from my dad, but the only thing I really can spend money on are soaps.
On the other hand, soaps are not completely related to DE shaving alone, so I don't think that counts (a mach3 user might be bitten as well by soaps) and I know I'll use every soap I buy.
And everything I buy NOW, is safe from inflation.:001_smile

Sorry, I can only :lol: :lol: :lol:
 
Yes, but it's not just how much you save (though that's nice), think about the horrible impact of all that plasticky stuff that just gets dumped.

The point being that, as a safety razor user, not only are are you a pretty cool, retro hip dude, you are also a fiscally responsible savvy investor and a green and caring environmental warrior.

who knew i was doing my part just by buying up as much DE equipment as possible-cool!:cool:


marty
 
I'm curious though... if cartridges and canned goo were the tools of choice for us( thank goodness its not, but you get where I'm going) how many of us would use them even if they were horrible for the environment? I'm saying that these tools left you with a wonderful shave every single day while DE and straight shaving left you tore up.
 
Home Brand generic DE razor blades made in USA: 10 for $2.44. Price per blade = 24c.

Granted, buying in a bulk of 100 might be considered excessive but 100 Red Pack Israeli Personnas from WCS would only cost me $11.90 shipped. That is only $0.12 per blade. Pretty good value methinks. That's likely what I'll buy after SWMBO, the DD, and I make our way through the Derbys I have now.
 
The odd thing is, I used to use the Sensor Excel cartridges, but I would stretch one cartridge for at least a month. Now, I toss my DE blades after 3-5 days. The end result is probably the same amount of money spent, but a heck of a lot better for my skin, more fun, and better for the environment. Works for me.
 
I have a few Atra handles stashed and have been tempted to try the Personna cartridges for it that Wal-Mart sells.

The arrangement on Wal-Mart's display rack was amusing:

Trac II 10-pack for $12.44, Twin II Personna 10-pack for $3.54, Atra 10-pack for $12.44, and Personna equivalent for $3.54, all in a row

People here at B&B who have tried the Twin II's think they're better than the Trac II's.

I have stashes of three different blades that cost less than half the Personna cartridges, however.
 
You've got to take into account there is a HUGE difference between spending money because you WANT to and spending money because you HAVE to.

We all have to shave. (Even if you grow a beard, lets face it... if you want to look clean, you still have to shape it.)

When our option, because we didn't know any better, was can-goo and a disposable cartridge blade, we bought those darn things because we thought we had to. I'm sure I wasn't the only one who hated it every time.

Lord knows I've spent gobs of money on shaving products in the last few months, but I was HAPPY with every purchase. A cased toggle for only $150.00? Snatch that up!!! Two cased single rings for $50.00? Mine!!!

eBay lots, creams from the BST, a stockpile of T&H 1805, the whole set of Penhaligons BB. Shaving this way, and the luxury behind all the products makes me feel good!!! A chore has become a luxury. When else in you life has that happened?

I used to have horrible shaves, mainly because I would make those blades last as long as I could. I would even only shave a couple times a week. Honestly, my cost to shave last year was probably about $200-$300. In the last 4-5 months, it was likely over $2,000. And I couldn't be more happy about it.
 
The odd thing is, I used to use the Sensor Excel cartridges, but I would stretch one cartridge for at least a month. Now, I toss my DE blades after 3-5 days. The end result is probably the same amount of money spent, but a heck of a lot better for my skin, more fun, and better for the environment. Works for me.

This sums up the equation in a nutshell by paying attention to the unquantifiables of 'enjoyment of shaving' and 'better skin'. I used to make an M3 cartridge last 3-5 weeks...and wondered why I got neck rash (especially in summer) and razor burn.
 
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