Frequently asked questions about the safety razor and the environment

Can safety razor blades be recycled?

Safety razor blades can typically be recycled, but the specific recycling options may vary depending on your location. Here are a few options to consider:

Local recycling facilities:

Check with your local recycling center or waste management facility to see if they accept razor blades for recycling. Some recycling centers have specific programs in place to handle razor blades safely. It's important to note that safety razor blades should not be placed directly into recycling bins as they can pose a risk to waste management workers. They should be properly contained to prevent any accidents.

Blade take-back programs:

Some razor manufacturers or shaving supply companies offer blade take-back programs. You hear about these typically with plastic disposable cartridge razors however this is rarely taken advantage of and is usually a great way for plastic cartridge makers to “Green Wash” an environmental story...typically these show up on “Green Day”. These programs allow you to send back used blades to the company for proper recycling or disposal.

Blade banks:

A blade bank is a small container specifically designed for the safe disposal of used safety razor blades. These containers have a slot to deposit used blades securely. I use a beer can with a slot in it...I have had it for 2 years and it is far from full. Once the blade bank is full, it can be sealed and disposed of in regular household waste. While this method doesn't involve recycling, it ensures safe disposal of the blades. A better method, as mentioned, is every 2 years just drop them off at your local recycle center.

Safely hold a double edge safety razor blade

Always exercise caution when handling used razor blades to prevent injury. It's important to follow local guidelines and regulations for proper disposal or recycling of safety razor blades to ensure they are handled safely and responsibly.

Are safety razor blades single-use?

Safety razor blades can be used multiple times before they need to be replaced, but the number of shaves you can get from a blade can vary depending on several factors. These factors include the thickness of your hair, the coarseness of your skin, and how frequently you shave. As a general rule, a safety razor blade can last anywhere from 3-5 shaves before it needs to be replaced. I usually get the best shaves with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th use. You should change the blade before it tugs on the hair.

It's important to note that proper maintenance of the blade can help extend its lifespan. This includes properly cleaning and drying the blade after each use, storing it in a dry and safe place, and avoiding excessive pressure or force during shaving, which can dull the blade more quickly.

When it's time to replace the blade, it's important to dispose of it properly. Used safety razor blades should not be placed directly into the trash or recycling bin, as they can pose a safety risk to waste management workers. Instead, consider using a blade bank when throwing away or check with your local recycling center to see if they accept razor blades for recycling.

Safety razor blades are made from steel and will eventually rust and decompose if in a landfill. Plastic cartridges razors are not biodegradable as they contain plastic. Mixed metal and plastic are extremely expensive to recycle and are mostly not(despite green marketing by the larger shaving suppliers).

When was the safety razor invented?

The safety razor was invented in the late 19th century. While several inventors have been credited with its creation, the most widely recognized safety razor we know today was patented by King C. Gillette in 1901. Gillette's safety razor featured a handle and a disposable, double-edged blade that could be easily replaced, revolutionizing the shaving industry at the time. The safety razor quickly gained popularity due to its ease of use, safety, and efficiency, and it remains a popular shaving tool among men to this day. During the early 1900 luxury high quality safety razors were made including gold plated razors and limited editions shavers. It was only later that technology allowed for machined stainless steel razors to be made. I talk in-depth about the history here.

Inventor of the best selling safety razor - King C. Gillette

The biggest innovation with Gillette and his company was the mass production of sharp blades which allowed for a comfortable close shave. When the patent to this process expired, we saw the push to new, patented, plastic disposable razors by the Gillette corporation to sustain profits and garner a large market share.

Where was the safety razor invented?

It was actually the french who added a safety guard(safety bar) to a straight razor in 1762, however the traditional safety razor we know today was invented in several places around the world during the late 19th century. Some of the early versions of the safety razor were patented in the United States, while others were developed in England, France, and Germany. Often times these were high quality straight razors or "cut throats" reserved for elite barbers. I talk about the history of shaving here.

One of the most widely recognized safety razors, which featured a disposable, double-edged blade, was patented by King C. Gillette in the United States in 1901. Gillette's safety razor design quickly gained popularity through a war contract during World War I and transformed and standardized the shaving industry and men’s grooming, paving the way for the development of other safety razor designs that are still used today. We modeled our stainless steel safety razor after the 1945 Gillette Tech. We followed up with our Titanium safety razor shortly after.

Cx razor modeled after Gillette safety razor

Did Gillette invent the safety razor?

While King C. Gillette is widely credited with inventing the first disposable safety razor with a double-edged blade in 1901, the concept of the safety razor had been around for several decades before that. Early versions of safety razors had been developed in Europe and the United States in the late 1800s, but they were typically bulky, difficult to use and all had different blade shapes.

Gillette's safety razor design was unique in that it featured a disposable, thin, and inexpensive double-edged blade that could be easily replaced when dull. The key inovation about his product was actually the mass production of sharp, thin, comfortable blades. This made the razor more affordable and convenient for the average consumer, and it quickly became popular. Gillette's safety razor and safety razor blade design revolutionized the shaving industry but eventually the patents ran out, with plastic now becoming a viable manufacturing tool the industry moved in this direction.

It was Gillete however that invented and patented the first plastic disposable cartridge razor in 1975. It was called the "Gillette Trac II," and it featured a plastic handle with a cartridge that contained two blades. The Trac II razor introduced the concept of a new cartridge system, where the blades could be easily replaced and disposed off. This innovation made shaving more convenient for consumers, as they could simply dispose of the entire cartridge when the blades became dull. The Gillette Trac II razor revolutionized the shaving industry and set the stage for the development of subsequent cartridge razor systems with more blades, lubricant strips, vibration and versions for women.

His company, which later became the Gillette Corporation, became one of the largest manufacturers of shaving products in the world. It still is today, however it is now owned by Procter and Gamble.

When was the first plastic disposable razor invented?

The first plastic disposable razor was invented in 1974. The razor was called the "Bic disposable razor" and was introduced by the French company Bic. It revolutionized the shaving industry by providing a convenient and inexpensive alternative to traditional safety razors. The Bic disposable razor featured a plastic single blade that all plastic except for the blades, it was designed to be entirely discarded after use. Its introduction marked a significant shift in consumer behavior towards plastic disposable products.

How does a safety razor work?

A safety razor works by using a sharp blade to remove hair from the skin's surface. Here's how it works.

Prep the skin:

Before using a safety razor, it's important to prep the skin by washing your face with warm water and using shaving cream or soap to help soften the hair and lubricate the skin. I talk a lot more about wetshaving here.

Insert the blade:

Open the top of the razor head and insert a single double-edged blade. Make sure the blade is securely in place before closing the razor head.

Hold the razor handle in one hand and position the razor at a 30-degree angle to your skin. One technique subscribes you use your other hand to stretch the skin taut in the area you want to shave. I get into the specifics about loading a blade here.


Using short, light strokes, shave with the grain of your hair growth, moving the razor in the direction of the hair growth. Rinse the razor frequently under running, fresh water to remove any hair or shaving cream buildup. Sometimes a second pass at shaving or touch ups will provide a very close shave. More about learning to shaver here.

Rinse and dry:

Once you've finished shaving, rinse your face with cool water and pat it dry with a clean towel. Open the razor head to remove the used blade and dispose of it properly....usually you can get 3-5 shaves with one blade.

Safety razors work by using a single blade that's exposed on one side and protected on the other, providing a close shave and efficient shave while minimizing the risk of cuts and nicks. The design of the safety razor also allows for easy replacement of the blade, making it a cost-effective and eco-friendly shaving option.



Misc. At CarbonShavingCo notes: Wet shaving is a bit of an art form. It is personal to your skin type, which dictates the type of soap and shaving brush you will be using. Opting between a straight razor or safety razor (disposable razors won't be the best of experiences at all). The use of some hot water to open up your pores and soften the facial hair is a good thing. When it comes to skin conditions, such as sensitive skin, razor bumps, and at times hair growth in multiple directions extra care and consideration must be taken and avoid razor burn caused by dry shaving, lack of lubrication, wrong direction, ingrown hairs, etc. At CarbonShavingCo, the construction and design of our razors aims to allow you to shave with a tool that can be bacteria-free as much as possible to help avoid allergic reactions by being polished with easy to clean surface, the design maximizes the flow of debris, the pinch design reduces gaps for the collection of debris and germs, we aim to help people with sensitive skin and prevent razor burn and ingrown hairs. We believe that wet shaving is the best approach with a good shaving soap as opposed to using men's disposable razors. This also applies to safety razors for women. Keeping your gear clean is so important if you are sensitive. Join the community of wet shavers today to learn more so you can enjoy your personal spa experience.

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