Safety Razor Safety: Disposing of Old Blades

Safety razors are, as the name suggests, actually incredibly safe.  One of my biggest worries when I started shaving with a DE razor, and the biggest concern I hear from others, is that using an old fashioned razor will turn into some kind of Sweeny Todd nightmare (I’ve not actually seen the movie, but I have a good idea what happens).   But the razor has the name for a reason, it is designed to protect you from the razor blade.

All that changes when it’s time to change the blade.  The guards come off, and you have to handle the blade on your own.  This, again, isn’t actually a big deal.  If you’re careful to avoid touching the razor’s edge you’ll be fine, and I’ve yet to cut myself at all changing them.  But you’re left with a used razor blade, which is still extremely sharp, that now needs to be disposed of.  You could of course just put it in the garbage.  But this risks the blade cutting through the bag, making a mess, and possibly cutting you or the garbage man when the trash is taken out. 

There are several ways to avoid this.  First, some blades are sold in plastic containers which include a blade disposal slot on the bottom.  New blades come out the top, old blades go in the bottom.  However many blades are sold in paper containers that simply hold the new blades, so this isn’t always an option. 

Any choice you might have, if you live in an older home, is a razor blade disposal slot.  While no longer in style, some older homes included a small slot in the medicine cabinet for used razor blades to be disposed of.  It opened into the empty space of your wall, and since the blades are so thin it might take years or decades to fill. 

But most people don’t have that as an option.  For a similar result you can use what’s called a blade bank.  The idea is simple: a hard plastic shell with a small slot for the blade, which allows the blades to be collected and handled without any risk of accidentally cutting anything or anyone.  Once it’s full you simply throw it away.

This is the method I use, though I didn’t want to buy one (I have heard that some stores include a blade bank with razor blade purchases, but I have not encountered that yet).  Instead, I use a small flavored butter jar:

That's probably three or four months worth of blades, so it'll be a bit before it fills up.

That’s probably three or four months worth of blades, so it’ll be a bit before it fills up.

Once it’s full, into the garbage or recycling it will go, and no one is at risk of getting hurt.


One comment

  1. I have worked in the construction and maintenance trades all my life. From time to time my work has taken me into the crawlspaces between the walls of old buildings. Many times I would get into areas behind bathroom walls that were littered with decades worth of old DE blades that had been discarded through the DE slots in old style medicine cabinets. Those were some very scary places I assure you!

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