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Blade disposal


Blade Bank|One type of commercially-available blade bank.

Used razor blades are still dangerously sharp and can cause serious injury if thrown away without precautions. Stainless steel and carbon steel blades can be recycled, but most importantly must be isolated from the possibility of harming others.

Blades can be wrapped in the paper they were shipped in, or in several layers of paper; but this method is far from foolproof and is not particularly convenient. Blades can be inserted into the bottom portion of some plastic blade dispensers; but again, this method is not particularly secure unless the plastic dispenser is taped shut.

Used razor blades may be considered medical waste; it may be useful to consider them as such when examining the possibilities for disposing of used blades. Check with your local government regarding laws and ordinances regulating disposal/recycling of used razor blades.

Blade Banks

Blade dispenser|A plastic blade dispenser with a slot for used blades.
Blade banks are inexpensive (or free; see next section) and provide a very secure, compact, and simple means of storing many used blades; once full, they can be sealed with a tap from a hammer and disposed of (ideally, they would be recycled, as they are high-quality steel). Both Gillette and GEM provided blade storage boxes that were attractive and durable enough to serve multiple purposes: Gillette's were re-purposable as used blade storage or match boxes, and the Bakelite boxes of, e.g., the GEM Micromatic had separate storage for new and used blades (see here for a picture). Similarly, the 1912 GEM Deluxe was sold with a blade bank in the case.

Non-commercial blade banks

Several inventive shavers have found multiple ways to store "sharps" (blades) without a commercially produced blade bank. Two popular methods are storing them is large pill bottles, or constructing a blade bank by cutting a slot in the top of an empty soup, broth, coffee, or condensed-milk can.

Older construction houses and hotels

A photo of a blade slot in a medicine cabinet.
In some older medicine cabinets and hotel rooms, a slot was cut in the metal portion of the medicine cabinet or sink area for razor blade disposal. The blades fell between two wall studs and were isolated from human contact until the structure is/was demolished. During renovations of such areas that potentially have hundreds of blades in the wall, it may be useful to notify contractors of the possibility of loose blades; s/he can take appropriate precautions and avoid injury or work stoppages.

Collectible Blade Banks

Old blade bank
Some old blade banks are decorative and attractive enough to be collectibles. Indeed, commercial manufacturers -- not limited to blade and razor manufacturers [1] gave blade banks away as promotional items (giving them free advertising space in the bathroom, where the users would see the blade bank every morning). Some blade banks are shaped like objects associated with barbering (barber poles, e.g.), while others exist resembling animals and cars, in addition to the decorative metal boxes.

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