Beardsmen, simply put, personify man’s efforts to maintain a natural state, to maintain a connection with our roots. Set aside the simple fact that beards are quite literally representative of man’s natural form, the bearded movement very often runs parallel with the efforts of conservationists and environmentalists.
The Cost of Razors
Think about it. Beardsmen don’t shave, and therefore don’t buy razors. That’s a benefit twofold – the beardsman saves tons of cash over months and years, and the planet benefits from less waste from the used razors. Every single year, Americans throw away 2 billion disposable razors. What’s worse is that disposable razors can’t be recycled in the U.S., so into the landfill they go. What’s more, just one of those handy little razors comes with a hefty environmental price tag. Consider these reports from Shave.com:
“For example, brand leader Gillette, an American-based company, has its razor handles manufactured in China while the blades are made in Sweden….this means that at any time container-loads of parts to make up a variety of branded and unbranded razors are being sailed and flown around the planet, clocking up some serious mileage. That all requires the use of fossil fuels to transport them, as well as the energy needed to manufacture the various components. For example, the manufacture of razor blades requires the steel used to be heated to temperatures of between 1,967 – 2,048°F (1,075 – 1,120°C), which takes a great deal of energy to achieve.
Plastic injection moulding, the process used to produce the various components such as the cartridges, razor handles and carriers for the lubricating strips, is an energy-rich process that puts a high demand on our planet’s natural resources. The manufacture of razors, therefore, is not a particularly sustainable one and has a considerable impact on the ecology of the planet.”
The Cost of Water
Shaving also uses a lot of water. In fact, according to the USGS Water Science School, you use an average of one full gallon of water while shaving. So let’s say the average completely shaven guy shaves Monday through Friday for work – that’s five gallons of water wasted per week, 20 per month, and 240 gallons per year. Put down the razor and you’re conserving a substantial amount of water throughout your lifetime.
And what about energy usage? Well even if you don’t look at disposable, manual razors; electric razors (while better for the environment on the whole) still use a considerable amount of electricity if used on a daily basis. Based on findings from DaftLogic.com, a standard electric shaver can use up to 20W of energy per use.
I’m not saying that all beardsmen are tree-huggers or that if you care about the environment then you HAVE to grow a beard. What I AM saying, though, is that beards, with all their other benefits (health, style, etc) can also be representative of a green effort. Beards can, and should, be seen as a sign of solidarity with our planet. Even if the effect is small, any effect on our planet for the better is worth something.
If you do shave, whether you shave completely every day (what are you doing here?) or if you use a razor to sculpt a goatee or mustache, consider trying something greener than disposable razors. As stated before, electric razors save a lot of unnecessary waste. You can also opt for reusable razors and replace the blades, or if you’re feeling particularly brave, you can use a straight razor. Any of these options will help cut back on pollution and will put us that much closer to having a healthy planet.
The point is, the bearded movement has never stopped at just being about beards. The Urban Beardsman is more than that. Beardsmen embody a lot of other things – inclusion, acceptance, kindness – the list goes on. Urban Beardsmen know this, too. It’s what makes us different from just being guys with beards. We’re part of something larger – a community of people with common goals and moral values. We care about our individual appearances, sure, but we care about each other as well. We also care about our planet, and the impact we all have.
If you’re the kind of person who wants to do even more and make a larger contribution to conserving our planet this Earth Day, I invite you to visit www.earthday.org and take a look around. It’s a great resource for knowledge, as well as a portal to charities and other ways to give back.
This Earth Day, think about what you represent, as an Urban Beardsman. Think about the community at large, and be proud that, even in a small way, you’re helping our planet.