91% of single-use plastic isn't recycled, and it can take more than 400 years to degrade. If we continue manufacturing and consuming plastic the way we currently do, by 2050, there will be 12 billion metric tons of plastic in landfills around the world. To put it into perspective, that's 35,000 times as heavy as the Empire State Building.
Plastic is one of the most problematic materials to recycle, but reducing the use of everyday household plastic was the tricky task Adam Simone was happy to take on. He's the Co-Founder of Leaf Shave, and one razor at a time, Adam is changing the impact of one of the most-used items in the bathroom.
When I was in high school, shaving was a twice-per-week ritual during the summer months for me, and I used a new plastic razor every week. If I've used a new plastic razor every week, for 52 weeks a year, and I've been shaving since I was 13, that's 884 plastic razors. This doesn’t take into consideration the plastic packet they're sold in either. I'm now 30, and while I can proudly say I ignore my pits and legs completely during winter, shaving is still part of my beauty routine at various times of the year.
We're all guilty of it; we've all played a part in the plastic problem at some stage of our lives, and most of us have used a plastic disposable razor or thirty, but there is a sustainable alternative - there always has been. Leaf Shave has accepted the responsibility of using business as a force for good, but the problem they're trying to solve, is big. More than two billion disposable plastic razors are thrown away every single year, and they're not being recycled either.
The solution is in Leaf Shave's razors. With a multiple-blade pivoting head for convenience and speed, and customisable options to suit tough hair or sensitive skin, Leaf Shave razors are the better alternative to single-use throw-aways, and they eliminate plastic from shaving completely.
Eliminating plastic is great, less is definitely more, and reusable is better than single-use, but most entrepreneurs would argue that high-volume lost-cost products are the way to turn a profit. Adam wants to do the very opposite - and get back to basics with a singular item.
“Shaving used to be done with all-metal tools and high-quality steel blades, and we're getting back to that. We're the first business in the last 120 years to design modern conveniences like multiple-blades and a pivoting head (that make shaving easy and carefree) with the quality and respect of old-time razor handles. Our razors are all metal, they're quality-built and they're engineered to last.”
The drive to embrace 'innovation in reverse' is something that most of us might struggle with, but it's a mindset that Adam is passionate about changing. Single-use plastic, as innovative as it may seem, has a counter-productive environmental impact, and the consequences of our 'innovative' daily items are now more regressive than progressive. Balancing a forward-thinking environmentally-friendly philosophy and a commercially-viable product design practice can be a struggle, but Leaf Shave have successfully achieved it.
“My co-founder and I split many of the duties of running our growing business. I manage most of the consumer-facing duties like marketing, sales, customer support, and fulfilment operations. My co-founder, Adam Hahn, does the engineering and product development, manufacturing and supply chain work. Leaf isn’t perfect but we know that our product helps our users take an important step in their own journey, and we are always looking for ways to dig deeper into our business and operations to continue to improve. That expectation of continual learning and improvement is just as important for consumers as it is for businesses. It’s okay that you might not be doing everything perfectly in your sustainability journey, but what matters, is that you’re trying, and taking small steps in the right direction. I have, personally, become way more aware of the smaller decisions in my day-to-day life since running this business. It’s an honour to shepherd our solution into the world!”
I share Adam's views, and it's a big part of the work we do at The Fashion Advocate; we all start somewhere, and if today is the day you buy your first ethical shirt or your first sustainable reusable razor, you're one day closer and one step further on your sustainable lifestyle journey. Adam advocates for this sense of 'progressive sustainability', and as easy as it is to sit and shame people on the train with their single-use coffee cups, or shame the people I walk past with H&M bags in their hands, we should be encouraging each other to make small eco-friendly changes, every day.
The power of individuals and the drive to educate people on the impact of their everyday choices is what drew me to the story in Leaf Shave. Encouraging consumers to buy less, but buy better, doesn't always mean high profits, and with long-lasting materials like zinc and stainless steel being used for Leaf Shave razors, Adam is actually doing himself out of potential business buy selling one quality razor, over 52 disposable plastic razors.
“They're incredibly hard-wearing and long-lasting, and that's just the way we like them. If for any reason a razor breaks or becomes unable to be refurbished, it is fully recyclable. If your local recycling doesn’t accept them, Leaf has a take-back program where you can send full tins to us and we’ll recycle them with our partner. We always want our users to know there’s a path to recycling for their blades either locally, or with us.”
Encouraging consumers to understand the value of one reusable plastic-free razor over the convenience and low-cost of several single-use plastic razors is something Leaf Shave is progressively working on too.
“It can be a bit of a leap. Our razors cost a bit more up-front than disposable razors, and they cost a little more upfront than many traditional safety razors too. What we are comfortable offering, is the easiest path for users to go from modern disposable cartridge razors to a sustainable solution. We're comfortable where we are from an economics perspective. We ship each razor with a years-plus worth of blades, so it’s an instant return on investment for most people. Then, there's the education around buying fewer, but better things. When cared for, it will care for you.”
The quality of a Leaf Shave razor is imperative to Adam’s values, and that means ensuring a long-lasting product too. Putting his engineering experience to good use, Adam took careful and calculated steps during the product development and design process to make sure Leaf Shave was entirely unique too.
“We went through dozens of prototypes and lots of design and manufacturing testing to get to a razor that was unique, effective, manufacturable, and at a price point that would be accessible and economically-positive to our users, and also allow us to grow our business.”
Adam has certainly achieved that mission and the love, ethics and intensive research that has been poured into Leaf Shave - is obvious. It is refreshing to see a business challenge the norm with such a small object that has such an immense impact, offering everyday consumers the option to shave with their values.
Adam's dedication for positive global change is poignant now more than ever when it comes to managing the plastic problem we've created as a society.
“We’ll rest, finally, when we’ve replaced every disposable plastic razor with a Leaf razor.”
Support sustainable businesses and take a solid stand for a better shave via Leaf shave online.
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