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Thread: Straight Razor Shaving as a means to Going Green

  1. #11
    Skeptical Member Gasman's Avatar
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    Being "green" to me means to do the best you can to help the environment. To cut all plastics and have no waste is going a bit far. Id think not shaving and using scissors to trim would be the ultimate but its not for me. Next would be to use a vintage straight. With all the componants that go with this shaving you will have some waste and plastics but very little.

    It would be hard to eliminate all things. Just cut down the foot print you make is where its at. Id suggest to people looking to go green with shaving to go with a straight. Its the greenest way but some waste will happen. Just not as much as other ways of shaving. At that point it would be up to them to find how far they want to go with the green thing. Some get carried away IMO.
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    It's just Sharpening, right?
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  2. #12
    Senior Member PaulKidd's Avatar
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    There's no point in beating yourself up about Being Green. You do what you can,
    but you gotta do something. Anyway, that's how I rationalize it to myself.
    Anything is better than nothing. It's just really hard to do when the consumer
    markets are going the other way.
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  3. #13
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    Decreased consumerism will lead to lower tax revenues to clean up the messes left over from 50 years ago. Not saying we should be slobs about the environment now.
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  4. #14
    Member Seveneighth's Avatar
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    Some great points guys. I hadn't thought about the importance of the artisan producers. I guess a local, sympathetic craftsperson might make allowances with packing etc. Smaller scale manufacturers might have a smaller carbon footprint.
    Last edited by Seveneighth; 02-22-2019 at 07:56 PM.

  5. #15
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    Straight razors are definitely a wonderful way to go green, at least in principle. This was actually one of the key things for me when I got into it. I looks like you've got a solid take on a lot of it already. One thing that I think is really important to emphasize is that no matter what approach you take there is always going to be some impact -- even not shaving and just growing a beard has an environmental cost once you factor in any kind of beard care. Instead, think about things not as good or bad, but as better or worse. You'll find that some things that are good in one area are bad in another. For instance, a synthetic strop vs a leather one: the cost of synthetic is that is doesn't degrade and ultimately is derived from oil, but leather comes out of animal production which itself has a huge environmental impact. Regardless of how things are approach, re-using is a clear environmental win, especially if it can be salvaged and prevented from going into a landfill.

    1) No plastic: so that is going to mean a leather strop; you mentioned flax or linen, which are great, but they are also slightly abrasive and not a real alternative to leather, though maybe a soft cotton could be. Brush-wise, horse hair is the most sustainable, probably followed by Chinese badger (cruel but generally from culls anyhow). Used will help you avoid further plastics, though it really only deferred the issue (e.g., you buy my used razor and now I go out and buy a new one with plastics anyhow). Buying from custom producers can help you further eliminate plastics, but even a relatively major producer like Ralf Aust wouldn't be a bad choice as you could certainly directly request limited or specialized packaging. Locally produced soaps are probably the easiest of these items to find.

    2) Pollutants: so you're mainly avoiding petroleum-based products. Again, you can't have a zero footprint and in the scheme of things hones and the like are very minor, though natural hones are of course going to (by definition) have less pollutants in them.

    3) Since you mentioned local--and I would agree that this is the most green option--you probably want your own hones. You'll have to use the mail system to get them, but unless you're lucky and have someone local, you'll also have to use the mail to get the razor sharpened; hones is the long term solution here. As with leather, horn and animal production has a significant cost. Olive wood is great because typically it's only from culled or trimmed trees only, though again you have the issue of shipping. Locally sourced oak might be another alternative. Not all exotic hardwoods are an environmental drain but they would be easiest to avoid.

    The steel industry as a whole isn't exactly known from great environmental practices. Again, it's not all or nothing: getting a straight will produce the least waste overall.

    Note that we said "in theory"; not only is SR shaving environmental but it is also the cheapest in the long run, but this is assuming you manage to avoid the hone, razor, brush acquisition disorders. Once you start to amass any kind of collection that math is going to go out the window.

    Good luck in your search. The impact we have on our world is a great topic for us all to consider so I hope this discussion goes on for a bit.
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  6. #16
    Senior Member lightcs1776's Avatar
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    I believe doing just about everything in balance. It isn't about being "green" for me. I believe we are care takers of the earth but we don't need to worship it either. People need to pick up their trash rather than toss it on the side of the road, recycle where they can, use recycled material,etc., but not get too caught up in the little things.
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  7. #17
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    I originally got into wet shaving for two reasons: the environmental impact, and the cost. Well, I definitely spend more on shaving now than when I was using disposable razors, but that's another story. I still believe that wet shaving is much better for the environment, for all the above reasons and more.

    Shaving with a safety razor seems to be the almost ideal. Even though there's surely an environmental impact from the industry making the razors, at least the blades are disposable and there are no plastic parts.

    For me, since plastic is everywhere is our world, it's impossible to avoid. So to be realistic, one just needs to try to be conscientious. I believe that buying a used object made of plastic is fine, because it's reusing the material, so buying vintage is a great option.

    When buying brushes, I usually opt for the models with wooden handles. I don't use synthetics. Even my toothbrush is bamboo with boar hair bristles (I don't want to buy used toothbrushes).

    I try and buy locally as much as possible, but it's often not an option in Canada, and especially now since I'm no longer in a big city. Things will need to get delivered. These things will have plastic and styrofoam packaging. I just try to reuse or recycle them.

    As for soaps, this is the big disappointment. I've tried several local soaps, but they're all TERRIBLE, especially the ones with zero waste packaging. The kind of lather that doesn't even make it onto your face because it's so obviously bad. This thread makes me think I should contact the companies and give them some constructive criticism. There's only one somewhat local shaving soap that gives decent lather, Henri & Victoria, but I get terrible irritation from it and it's not eco-friendly (at least not last time I checked). So I order soaps online, like everyone else, since the only other option would be to always use Proraso. My consolation is that the soaps I order last a really long time - now that I have a decent collection that I rotate through, I doubt I'll need to buy anything else for several years.

  8. #18
    Senior Member Brontosaurus's Avatar
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    Hate to say it, but as far as I can tell, the quarrying of natural sharpening stones, to say nothing of the fused abrasives used in making synthetic sharpening stones, makes a big mess of the local environment.
    Striving to be brief, I become obscure. --Horace

  9. #19
    Senior Member blabbermouth bluesman7's Avatar
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    If you look at the total environmental footprint of materials. I believe that plastic can actually be the most sensible choice for many non disposable items. It makes a lot of sense for things that are exposed to water. It needs no finish in most cases.
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  10. #20
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    I agree with both Brontosaurus and bluesman7: obtaining and refining natural stones, let alone synthetics, definitely can have a huge impact on the environment and, likewise, there are times with non-disposable plastic items actually have a smaller ecological footprint. Synthetic brushes, for instance, are by and large a very green choice despite the fact that they are synthetic. All in all, one really has to look at the overall balance and I think with this in mind there is little doubt that SRs are, relatively speaking (e.g., compared with cartridge razors and even safety razors), the greenest option.
    bluesman7 likes this.

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