Circular Shave


The Circular

Design Shave

This is a working page about circular shaving product-service system.
It is work in progress and numbers are assumptions.
For ideas, corrections or feedback, please contact me.


2 Billion Disposable Razors every year


Shaving is an essential human act, almost every modern culture shaves in some way. As most modern solutions use plastic parts, there is a huge amount of waste generated. Over the next decades, need for razors will only increase as population rises. The EPA estimates 2 Billion Disposable Razors are thrown away every year. That's roughly 270.000.000 tons of plastic only for Disposables. There clearly big potential to replace destructive products with circular shaving experiences.


Material System Map


The Scenario


We are talking about a man who regulary shaves and look at a relatively long period of time to get a holistic picture. Let's assume this:

2-4 Shaves/week
= 8-16 Shaves/month
= 1-2 Blades/month
= 12-24 Blades/year
= 120-240 Blades/10 years
= ~ 150 Blades

10 years = 150 Blades


Comparison of available solutions


Disposable Razor


Cartridge Razor


Safety Razor

  • Handle and Blade are one
  • everything becomes waste
  • Not recyclable
  • Different materials fused together
  • allowed in carry-on luggage
  • easy to use
  • perceived as "cheap" option
  • Locked system
  • Blades become waste
  • Not recyclable
  • Different materials fused together
  • allowed in carry-on luggage
  • easy to use
  • perceived as "normal" option
  • Open, standardized system
  • Blades become waste
  • Fully recyclable
  • Only metal
  • Blades not allowed in carry-on luggage
  • often unfamiliar use
  • perceived as "old school", "expensive" option




9g plastic
1g metal

60g plastic

4g plastic
1g metal

70g metal

1g metal


Material in 10 years:

1350g plastic
150g metal

Material in 10 years:

600g plastic
150g metal

Material in 10 years:

0g plastic
220g metal




~ 15€/Handle
~ 3€/Blade


Cost in 10 years:


Cost in 10 years:


Cost in 10 years:



Lessons learned


While current mainstream solutions are not suitable for a circular economy, the classic double edge razor already provides a good circular system. While small plastic parts don't get recycled, metal is easy to separate from waste streams and easy recyclable.

At the same time, it is the cheapest option and provides a high quality shave. Looking forward for circular design ideas, the working principles can be adapted and built on. Yet there is room for improvement new designs.


  • Full metal design - Easy to source from waste streams and highly recyclable
  • Sturdy main unit, built to last
  • Minimal material use for blades
  • World standard for blades

Opportunities for improvement:

  • Blade changing mechanism is messy and dangerous
  • Solution to get rid of used blades
  • Extend blade sharpness somehow
  • Providing moist and after shave treatment

3 Potential Opportunities



1. Could we redesign the cartridge system?



A modular system makes sense, as the blade gets blunt at some point. Some people might also not want to miss multiple blades. Maybe there is an easy mechanism that changes only the blade or the cartridge is completely made from steel. 
A subscription model combined with other shaving products for pre- and after-shave could be a good product-service offering.




2. Could we shave a blade forever?

The cutting element could be more like a knife that can be easily sharpened and adjusted with a device.


3. Could we make a circular, cheap and low tech solution?


A razor with blade made completely from steel, cheap to compete with disposable razors yet with possibility to change blades.


... work in progress