In most instances, it is okay to dispose of razor blades with your household trash. However, you must take special safety measures into account to prevent injury to yourself or others. Always check with your local municipality before disposal.
For this guide, we will cover some safe ways to prep your used razor blades for disposal along with places that will collect your used blades should local laws prohibit household disposal.
Let’s take a look:
It’s best to bring used razor blades to a sharps disposal facility (pharmacy, collection drive, or specially marked sharps disposal container). However, if none are convenient, safely place the blades in a sealed container and dispose of them in the trash (don’t recycle).
Note: Modern razor systems like those from Gillette or Schick, specifically disposable (hence the name) and cartridge razors can be thrown into the trash. For additional safety, wrap the head of the razor in paper and staple shut.
5 Ways to Dispose of Razor Blades
Here’s how you can get rid of your used razor blades:
1. Should You Trash ’em or Recycle ’em?
In most cases, razor blades should be safely disposed of in the trash rather than recycled.
But to ensure compliance and safety, always check with state and local guidelines.
To help you find accurate and relevant results, try searching in your preferred search engine the following:
- Sharps disposal in [INSERT STATE or CITY]
- Razor blade disposal in [INSERT STATE or CITY]
To give you an example of what to look for, this is what I found for New York, LA, and Wisconsin:
For NYC, they go so far as to explicitly state that sharps/razor blades are thrown away “in a leak-proof, puncture-resistant container” with regular household trash.
We will touch on some solutions to ensure safe disposal in just a minute.
Interesting fact: In 1990, the EPA estimated that Americans throw away 2 billion disposable razors and blades each year (source – page 11).
- Blade Disposal Case; Enables Safe Removal And Disposal Of Used Razor Blades Into A Compact Size Case; Easily Fits In Any Work Space Of Barbers And Professional Stylists
- Works In Sync With All Feather Razor Blades
2. Check Your Local Pharmacy or Medical Center
If you are hesitant about throwing used razor blades into the trash, then check with your local pharmacy, doctor’s office, or medical center. Many, if not all of them should have a sharps disposal container for needle disposal. Here, you can simply ask if you can throw out your used razor blades – which they likely won’t have an issue with.
Again, just like city and state disposal guidance, some medical centers may actually encourage you to drop off your razor blades on your next medical visit as we found here.
3. Sharps Collection Drive
Some areas of the country may hold sharps or medical waste disposal drives regularly. Again, a quick online search here may find some local results in your area that are worth checking out.
For example, here’s the collection schedule for Rockland County.
4. Private Company Recycling Program
Some companies such as Gillette and BIC contract with the private recycling company TerraCycle where you can dispose of their used blades.
Depending on where you live, you may have a drop-off center not too far away:
If you don’t find anything nearby, then you can pay to have a box sent to you and dispose of your blades. What’s unique about this company when compared to others is that the razor blades are recycled rather than completely disposed of.
You can learn more about TerraCycle here.
5. Wall disposal in your medicine cabinet
Some older homes or apartments will have a blade disposal slot in the back of the medicine cabinet. Should your medicine cabinet have this, you can slide the used blades into this slot.
However, if you ever do a bathroom renovation project or need to call a plumber, make sure that they are aware of this before doing any work to prevent accidental injury.
Should the disposed blades need to be removed, a good trick is to use a magnet or broom to pick them up rather than individually by hand. Just make sure that you wear appropriate safety gear, as the blades will likely be rusty and still sharp.
5 Ways to Prep Safety Razor Blades for Disposal
Here are a few ways you store your used blades and prep them for safe disposal:
1. Wrap them in the paper they originally came in
When you get a fresh set of blades, they will come individually wrapped. Rather than throwing out that paper, hold onto it for disposal once your blade has started to dull.
Once wrapped into the paper, take a piece of scotch tape or masking tape and go around it one time to ensure that the blade doesn’t slide out:
While this method isn’t the safest, it is one that can work in a quick pinch, especially if you don’t have an empty container handy.
2. Blade banks are specially designed for this purpose
Many razor blade brands make disposable containers that can safely store your used razor blades. They feature a thin slot on the top of the container and can hold 100+ razor blades before they are full:
You can pick up a blade bank for less than $10 online.
3. Repurpose an old container
If you have children in your household or have children that visit often, then consider using an old medicine bottle or prescription pill bottle that has a child safety cap:
Many of these containers are wide enough to fit a razor blade with no issue. Should the bottle be a bit more narrow, then you can simply snap the razor blade in half (make sure to wrap it in paper first), and then it should be able to fit easily.
Another DIY solution is taking an old plastic peanut butter jar and cutting a slit in the top and gluing the lid to the jar.
Other ideas of containers that can be used include the following:
- Altoids tin
- Shaving cream tub (like a Taylor of Old Bond Street type)
- Soda can
- Soup can
Generally, it’s best to avoid glass as it could break if thrown into the trash can.
4. Your razor blades may have come with a blade bank
Some razor brands will ship their blades in a small plastic container that fits about 5 or 10 blades (pictured above).
On the back of these containers, there is a thin plastic slot that you can slide used razor blades into. Once fully loaded with your used blades, you can safely dispose of them. If you want to be extra safe, put a piece of tape over the opening so no blades can slide out.
5. Regardless of disposal method – label clearly
Whether you bring your used razor blades to a special disposal facility or they are thrown out with your household trash – make sure that you clearly put a label on the container by stating “SHARPS” or “USED RAZOR BLADES” with a bold permanent marker.
Wrapping it all up
Shaving is fun; however, disposing of the blades must be done responsibly.
I hope that this article helped provide some guidance so that you prevent injury to yourself and others.