The Passive Activist #6

We Americans are living with an unprecedented absence of leadership. In the Deep South, we have lived with this void for most of our history, so we’re a little more used to it than the rest of the nation— but that doesn’t make it OK. In the face of Congressional deadlock, soaring national debt, secular/religious strife, rogue policy actions by state legislatures, mistrust of the police, declines in public education funding, exorbitant college costs, internet predators and trolls, crumbling labor unions, global warming, and neon-colored running shoes, the Passive Activist series offers ideas for how ordinary people can create and implement positive change in our own lives. Movements are made up of people.

#6. Stop using disposable razors.

Let’s do some math. Let’s say you’re an average guy with an average beard, and you shave three times a week, changing your blade once a week. That’s 52 blades per year. If you did that from your 20s through your 60s, you would use about 2,500 disposable razors and/or blades over five decades.  And if every guy on your street did the same thing, we’d be talking about tens of thousands of these things going in the landfills— just from the guys on one street! Ridiculous . . .

It’s perfectly normal for a man to teach his son to shave using those cheap orange-yellow Bic razors. Those are training wheels for your man-face. But once a young man grows out of chin acne and being proud of his farts, he should also grow out of disposal plastic razors. Most men then graduate to something a little pricier, maybe Mach III blades, but in terms of green-ness, that habit isn’t much better.

Unless you’re some kind of nut who breaks things constantly, a straight razor would last you much longer. A kit that includes a strop costs about $100. By contrast, a twelve-pack of those orange-yellow Bic razors costs about $4. Or if you use the good blades, that are $7 per pack of three . . . So yes, it’s more expensive to buy a straight razor, but with disposables, you’ll still have to buy more razors for decades. At the end of that same time frame, you’ll still have your straight razor, if you buy a good one.

That’s not to mention the environmental cost. If you saw my earlier blog post about the Pacific Ocean being littered with plastic, then you can imagine how much you’ll be contributing to that by continuing to use plastic razors or blades.  Fifty per year for fifty years—  2,500 razors or blades per clean-shaven man.

I will admit, one downside to a straight razor is learning to use it. When I got one in my 20s, I did cut myself several times, mainly on my chin and around the corners of my mouth. Those spots are hard to maneuver with that larger blade. I answered that quandary by wearing a goatee, but another guy might tough it out and learn to shave his whole face better than I did. It’s a moot point for me right now; I wear a full beard and don’t shave at all.

One day, this hipster beard fashion is going to go out of style, and all the cool cats are going to have to figure out how to keep their faces clean again. When that time comes, spend the hundred bucks and stay away from all that plastic.

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