Tag Archives: reduce waste

Shaving Off a Bit More

Here is one of my husband’s contributions: a vintage razor. Yes…the kind you have to buy actual razor blades for. Out of the blue, my husband, we’ll call him Bruce, began to notice how many disposable razors he was using. Being in a profession that required a suit on a daily basis, he also needed to be clean shaven. Plus, he was never satisfied with the shave that the disposable razors were giving him. He had tried various electric razors over the years with dismal results.

So as a complete surprise to me, who didn’t even realize this was an issue…or an area we could save money in, he ordered a 1955 Gillette Super Speed Double Edge Safety Razor. The initial outlay was around $20 from eBay for the razor, which was used but in pristine and sanitized condition. He also ordered a shaving brush for around $10–though these, I understand can get very expensive. The shaving soap he got from the corner pharmacy for less than two dollars. The box of double-edged razors he got from Sally’s Beauty Supply for around a dollar for 12 blades. For those, non math whizzes out there, this adds up to around $33. This all went down in December 2012.

As with most transitions, the start-up costs are a bit high. But let’s say he was spending around five bucks a month on crappy disposable razors…with this new system, it’s now the very end of March 2013 and he still has razor blades. He finally had to buy more shaving soap two weeks ago. Accordingly, the break even point is June 2013 and, thereafter, the monthly cost is around around 50 cents, if not less. I really don’t know how long that box of razors will last.

My husband is also very excited that he is not dumping all that plastic into the environment with those plastic razors. On top of that, he says he has never had such a good shave. This style of shaving is called wet shaving. While researching the issue he discovered that the modern disposable razors with all their fancy multiple blades were nothing more than a marketing success story for a pretty lousy product.

It is true that there was a learning curve for shaving, but honestly, he used to bleed more with the disposable razors. It is possible some would argue that he was never using quality razors before, but that would only add to how much he was spending every month on a product that he would throw away. Did I mention how much he raves about the shave he gets? I cannot begin to tell you how many times he has made me feel how smooth his cheek is.

I have not been brave enough to try it yet…and I am not even sure I would be allowed since it is still currently one of his favorite new-ish things…and you know how they always think our leg hair dulls their razors, but at least I have other options available to me, like waxing. So I am content he found this new system and that it adds to our three goals of saving money on a monthly basis, producing less waste and having nice things.

First… admit you have a problem.

My dear, beautiful sister was always so proud of herself for getting such fabulous deals on after-holiday items, decorations and wrappings.  Perhaps the best example was Christmas.  Every year, she would buy her wrapping papers, tissues, foils, boxes, bags, decorations on super sale after the season and put them away for the next year.  She got such fabulous savings!

When she moved from Illinois to Arizona three years ago she brought out from under the house FIVE bins of Christmas stuff, much of it never opened. Together, with hands held, and tears in our eyes, we acknowledged she had a sickness.  If you buy things and never use them, it’s no deal at all, no matter how cheap it was.

Now, I will admit, I took a lot of it…she couldn’t take it with her and we weren’t going to throw it away…it was all free for me.  But, I have to be honest,  it will be years before I actually go through it all.  Especially since I have made a vow to never buy wrapping paper and gift bags again.  Once you make a conscientious effort to save tissue, gift bags, cellophane, bows, ribbon, fillers, foils, and boxes, it adds up very fast.  People may look at you strangely at a baby shower when you are folding all the tissue into manageable folds, but you’ll be glad you did. (Baby showers are gold mines for tissue paper, by the way).  There are so many uses for tissue paper.  You can shred it and use it for easter baskets, shipping delicate products, and gift baskets. You can even wrap presents with it. You can use if for decor on gifts of plain bags, such as making tissue flowers, bows, or taking some watered down glue and decoupage-ing.

At Christmas time, I collect the ribbon and tissue and bags that people otherwise throw away. And they throw so much away! Everyone so far has rolled their eyes at the idea of shredding and composting the wrapping paper, but I hope to put that into effect soon.  I also collect small boxes and ribbons like the ones that come with all those yummy office gifts. Even if it’s too small to actually use to wrap, ribbons are great for crafting.

Occasionally my husband also has a good idea. Sometime ago he collected a handful of flight maps that the local flight school was getting rid of.  They have now become his signature wrapping and everyone remarks on how clever it is.  Repurposing things like maps, comics, your kid’s coloring book pages, instructions, newspaper, magazine pages, and tissue as wrapping paper is a great and FREE idea. Don’t forget to shred and compost after wards (I know…I haven’t gotten around to that yet, but I WILL.)