At the beginning of the circular economy
Before we started with the product development, we did not know how to develop a shaving handle and what exactly circular economy entails. However, we knew that our shaving handle, in addition to high aesthetics and functionality, must also include the factor of time. Time in the sense of longevity.
Every new product should bring something new with it. There are enough of the same products and there are also enough products.
The benchmark lies outside the industry
We have therefore deliberately taken inspiration from outside the industry during product development: From Airbnb and beautiful writing tools. When beautiful writing tools feel good in the hand, writing becomes a real pleasure again. Everyday actions gain in quality. Airbnb stands for the experience and not for possessions. Inspired by Airbnb, we therefore asked ourselves what materials and manufacturing methods would make it easy to refurbish, so that we could use the handle multiple times. At first glance, this is a ponderous notion for a shaving handle. However, if you think about "renting" and not "consuming", you are necessarily interested in longevity, which automatically leads to long-lasting products and new services .
Thinking about theend at the beginning
For a product to be durable, it must be able to be refreshed, repaired, reused and, in the end, completely biodegraded. That's why it's important to think at the outset about how the product will be recycled. International companies such as Desso/Tarkett, Signify or Caterpillar prove that a circular economy also brings economic advantages. Desso/Tarkett rents carpets made from recyclable materials. Because recycling the carpets is cheaper than purchasing raw materials, the Dutch company can produce new carpets more cost-effectively while using fewer resources. Signify also benefits from the concept of the circular economy and offers lighting as a service. The customer chooses the useful life and brightness, and Signify takes care of installation, maintenance and electricity costs. This has allowed the company to reduce costs for the customer and increase its own margins. As much as possible, Caterpillar ensures that resources remain in the Caterpillar value chain, which increases the life cycle of products and reduces costs for customers.
Refreshed shaving handle is equivalent to a freshly packaged toothbrush
Shavejack customers can return the Swiss wood shaving handle to us when they no longer need it. We will transfer CHF 10 after receipt, without any further purchase obligations. To ensure that the handle is equivalent to a new handle in terms of hygiene and feel, we proceed as follows: First, the handle is placed in a disinfectant solution, which completely eliminates viruses, bacteria and fungi. We freshen up the wood with the right surface treatment. The high quality metal is durable and corrosion resistant. Tests in a microbiological laboratory have confirmed that a razor handle refreshed by us is equivalent to a repackaged toothbrush. The extent to which we can save not only resources but also costs with our method has yet to be proven.
Examination of a recycling programme for safety blades
We are examining with various recycling specialists whether it makes sense to recycle safety blades, taking grey energy into account. The grey energy in this case would be the energy required for collection through to recycling. Initial analyses indicate that the life cycle assessment for recycling in the case of safety blades is worse than normal incineration and recovery of energy and metal via slag.
So how big is the impact?
Anyone who removes hair with a razor or straight razor is already shaving sustainably. We think that's a good thing and we don't want to change that. However, this is the minority of all those who wet shave. The majority of all wet-shaving contemporaries, shave with safety blades. Of these, the percentage of disposable razors worldwide is about 30 percent.. In the USA alone, approximately 2.6 billion disposable razors are thrown away. If only a percentage of all disposable razor users switched to our razor handle, that would make for quite a bit less waste when extrapolated across the world. We could reduce plastic by 90% with the Shavejack razor, promote local craftsmanship and plant a new tree for every razor handle sold with the international organization OneTreePlanted. We're still at the beginning of the circular economy, but anything is possible.