With the annual The Hague Innovators Challenge, the municipality of The Hague challenges startups, scale-ups, and students to come up with fresh and innovative ideas to tackle global problems of our time. With the next edition coming up soon, we thought it would be good to check in with Sustain-A-Blade, winner of the student prize of The Hague Innovators Challenge in 2019. Check out this guest blog to find out more about their journey so far.
Recently, the fight against single-use plastics has gotten much attention. Certain stores stopped selling straws and plastic cutlery, and bags are not given for free anymore. But a big polluter seems to be underexposed, even though so many of us use it: the disposable razor. Currently, there are not enough options in the shaving industry that have a low carbon impact, are comfortable and aesthetically pleasing and economically sustainable. The Sustain-A-Blade fills this market gap by providing a shaving razor made of ceramic and wood, which stays sharp for two years. A quick calculation: assuming that everyone in The Hague will use our product, we could prevent 2.5 million plastic disposable razors from ending up in waste in these two years!
Shaving and the environment
Shaving using disposable razors has a negative impact on the environment because of the razors’ disposable nature which uses finite resources and causes a lot of waste and harmful emissions. The plastic razors are impractical to recycle and mostly produced in developing countries which results in huge amounts of shipping-related carbon emissions. Most importantly, the everyday use reinforces customer’s habits of disposability that may also influence other unsustainable behavior.
It is concluded from our extensive life cycle assessment that in two years of using a Sustain- A-Blade razor, the carbon footprint caused by shaving is 17 times smaller than in the case of shaving with plastic disposable razors. Besides the avoided amount of CO2, we believe that we are challenging the overall unsustainable and indifferent shaving industry by providing a durable solution which does not include any toxic or plastic waste. We believe that we can extend the boundaries across the shaving industry into the whole cosmetics industry by raising awareness about sustainability in personal care products and by demonstrating that sustainable yet convenient solutions do exist.
A pleasant shave
In terms of eased pains, Sustain-A-Blade will help the target customer to introduce a sustainably manufactured product into her or his daily beauty or care routine. The crucial pain solved is the hassle that current sustainable options bring with them, such as the need of sharpening or handling blades of straight and safety razors, which is according to our survey perceived as dangerous or inconvenient by many consumers. Such products are also nowadays absent in local stores and that is why the consumers keep choosing for the plastic razors. Sustain-A-Blade introduces a long lasting, high quality, unisex, sustainably sourced and recyclable product.
Sustain-A-Blade introduces a long lasting, high quality, unisex, sustainably sourced and recyclable product in the shaving industry. Currently, there aren’t enough options in the personal care industry that have a low carbon impact, are comfortable and aesthetically pleasing and economically sustainable. Our product fills this market gap by providing a shaving razor made of ceramic and wood, which stays sharp for two years.
The Hague is a highly innovative, green, urban city with environmentally aware citizens. The Sustain-A-Blade solution can make a huge impact in such an environment because it will prevent many single-use plastic disposable razors from going to the incinerator. In The Hague alone, if we assume that 20% of the population, both men and women included, shave with disposable razors, we can avoid about 2 and a half million razors going to waste per year by introducing the Sustain-A-Blade.
Are you also working on solutions that tackle global issues? Is your company focused on doing good and doing business? Find out how you can apply for The Hague Innovators Challenge of 2020.