32% of all plastic products created on Earth wind up somewhere they’re not supposed to be- mainly the oceans. Moreover, the amount of plastic waste continues to increase. In response to this, Berkeley based green design firm and sailing enthusiast Albatross Designs has recently launched their first product: Albatross SHAVES the World from Plastic, a campaign to eliminate plastic from the shaving equation by convincing Americans to return to the classic double edged safety razor. Safety razors provide a closer, more smooth shave than plastic and cartridge ones, plus replacement blades are only 15 cents. The best part though, is the elimination of plastic from the act of shaving. Over 2 billion plastic razors are thrown out each year in the US alone, but Albatross is working to change this. Since some recycling centers have some catching up to do on accepting razor blades, Albatross SHAVES the World from Plastic is also working to create its own system for accepting used blades.
But can a 100 year old design work better than the five-bladed designs of today? Absolutely! It’s no secret that the best shave around is a barber’s straight razor shave. A double edged safety razor provides you with all the same perks (an extraordinarily close, smooth shave) with the added reassurance of a protective guide. And since you let the weight of the razor do all the work (rather than pulling it across the skin like you would with a plastic razor), a double edged safety razor is arguably safer too. Many who are interested in the science of shaving argue that the rise in popularity of multiple-bladed plastic razors is little more than good marketing. Simply put, plastic-encased blades contain less metal than a single larger blade so the end product is cheaper to produce but not necessarily better. Albatross’s unique designs are composed of sleek stainless steel to ensure the best shaves that stand the test of time. Using a safety razor will transform your life. This isn’t hyperbole. There is something so much more enjoyable about the shaving experience when all it involves is a single high-quality blade and no interfering plastic. Let’s face it, shaving is not unlike Sisyphus rolling his boulder up a hill each day only to watch it roll back down for him to do it again. So if we’re forced to shave in perpetuity, we might as well enjoy it.
“It’s simple to say don’t use plastics stupidly,” says Albatross founder Andrew LaCenere, “but until our systems and processes better reflect this idea they’re still going to be used stupidly. We look to tweak these processes into a better overall user experience with a significantly higher environmental impact.”
In addition to fighting plastic waste, Albatross has pioneered the Trident Project, a not-for-profit effort to seek out environmental solutions with a particular interest in ocean trash removal. The amount of plastic being dumped into the oceans is growing at an alarming rate. Currently about 1 dump truck full of plastic is being dumped into the ocean every minute. Without significant changes in our behavior this number is expected to grow to 2 dump trucks per minute by 2030. “We need to stop the stream of plastic,” says LaCenere, “But it would also be really great to remove some from the environment. We want to attack the problem from both ends.”
Albatross’ next campaigns are under currently under development with an upcoming project aimed to address single use waste in the restaurant industry. It will be interesting to see how things unfold for the company started by sailors in honor of the sea.
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