The first disposable razor in the U.S. to use 100 percent recycled materials in both its handle and its packaging is expected to keep more than 103,000 pounds of virgin plastics and 15,500 pounds of virgin paper from going into landfills each year.
Reducing the number of disposable razors and plastics from those razors that go into landfills and improving the environmental footprint of their products are critical issues for disposable razor manufacturers, as an estimated 600 million disposable razors are sold globally each year.
The new Schick Xtreme3 Eco razor, introduced Feb. 1 by Schick-Wilkinson Sword, will use recycled polypropylene resins made by NextLife Enterprises LLC at its plant in Frankfort, Ky., for the handle. It will also use 100 percent post-consumer paper in its packaging.
The recycled PP resins are made from products such as clothes hangars, buckets and pails recycled by NextLife, which has its corporate headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla.
“NextLife is proud to have our resin used in a consumer-product application that is unlike any other disposable razor in the market,” said NextLife President and CEO Ron Whaley. “It's great to see mainstream brands moving toward using recycled materials in their products. We believe this is yet another turning point for sustainability within the consumer products industry.”
Last month, NextLife increased the capacity of its plant in Frankfort by 15 million pounds annually with the addition of a processing line that can recycle both film and the rigid plastic wastes used to make the new recycled resin for Schick.
Whaley said the Frankfort plant is now running three of its planned lines, and NextLife expects to add more lines and be operating the plant at its nameplate capacity of 90 million pounds by the end of this year. He added that the company is “continuing to finalize its next location in the Midwest,” with that effort being “primarily focused on Michigan” and he hopes to have that situation resolved shortly.
Some of the other products that use NextLife resins include the recycled resin cutlery line and the EcoLid 25 lids for hot-beverage cups sold by Eco-Products Inc. of Boulder, Colo.; and some of the Preserve-brand personal-care, tableware, kitchen and food-storage products made by Recycline Inc. in Waltham, Mass.
“Our ultimate goal is to continue expanding the plastic waste we process ... into consumer products and packaging applications, including film-to-film applications,” said Whaley. The company maintains that the typical carbon footprint of its resins is 70 percent less than that of a virgin resin.
Mike O'Malley, director of program management and sustainability for Schick, said the company had wanted to launch a more-sustainable razor “that is better for the environment for many years,” but first had to overcome a number of challenges.
“We wanted to provide a simple way [for consumers] to live more sustainably,” added Suma Nagaraj, brand manager for Schick Xtreme3.
Schick-Wilkinson Sword, based in Shelton, Conn., is a division of St. Louis-based Energizer Holdings Inc.