A VERY large number of people – and not just men – regularly shave. For decades now most of us have been using disposables for various reasons.

Way back in history people would keep them sharp themselves. Ever since the familiar safety razor was designed, although safe, they were intrinsically disposable and you bought new floppy but very sharp blades.

But, you would only be throwing away the blades themselves. The friendly disposable razor handle is another of the many bits of plastic we throw away so regularly we don’t even notice. But that’s perhaps 30 or so bits every year, per most adults, and it all adds up.

I was surprised to find that you can still get safety razors, with handles of metal, plastic or glass. The handle lasts ages and only the blade itself is thrown.


The classic stainless steel razor. Its still possible to buy them so that only the blade is disposed of

The classic stainless steel razor. It's still possible to buy them so that only the blade is disposed of


You can store them up in a tin until it’s full and then recycle it. Conversely, there are several ecological suppliers of multiple heads, for a smoother shave less likely to cut.

The blades are metal but the casing is a plastic. Some have a freepost service where you can post back your used blades and they’ll recycle them.

Other mainstream razor companies have a deal with Terracycle, whereby you get prepaid envelopes from them and then send your used razor-heads to Terracycle, who will recycle them into benches or construction materials.

The humble toothbrush is in daily use by absolutely everyone.

That mounts up to a lot of plastic in landfill. A few niche eco-suppliers started making bamboo toothbrushes a while ago and now the big industrial players have got into the scene.

The bristles need to be removed but then you can compost the handle. This is also true of brushes made from corn starch.

Lastly, regular plastic brushes themselves can be recycled with the Colgate oral care recycling programme, with drop-off sites in Droitwich, Worcester and Evesham.