Electric toothbrushes keep our pearly whites sparkling while electric razors keep our mugs freshly shaven. Each of these evolutionary products, powered by batteries, has a lifespan of their own. So what do you do when that electric toothbrush won’t spin or that electric razor won’t cut? Are electric toothbrushes and razors recyclable? Both products have been designed to make our lives simpler. But, the answer to end-of-life disposal is well…not so simple. Let’s start off with electric toothbrushes.
Are electric toothbrushes and razors recyclable?
Electric toothbrushes are made up primarily of a rechargeable battery – usually Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cd), a wire and metal-based motor and plastics. Each of those materials – battery, metal and plastic – are recyclable by themselves. Similar to electric razors, it is recommended that you first remove the rechargeable battery for proper recycling. For more information on how to properly recycle rechargeable batteries, you’ll want to reference the Earth911 Guide to Recycling Rechargeable Batteries.
Additionally, manufacturer Philips is a licensee of Call2Recycle for the proper recycling of rechargeable batteries. Users can drop off their removed rechargeable battery at any Call2Recycle drop-off location. Visit the Call2Recycle website to find the rechargeable battery drop-off location nearest to you.
- At time of publish, it appears that neither of the two major electric toothbrush manufacturers – Oral B and Philips (Sonicare) – have dedicated take-back recycling program for the entire product.
- If product disassembly is something you’d consider, this route could be a viable recycling option. However, you’ll want to first check to find an outlet that will accept those materials.
- Call related recyclers in your local area using the Earth911 Recycle Search as a resource.
Like their bristled friend the electric toothbrush, electric razors are made up primarily of a rechargeable battery, a wire and metal-based motor and various plastics. Unlike electric toothbrushes, electric razors do seem to have more recycling outlets available to product users. Electric razor manufacturer Philips Norelco has step-by-step instructions on their website regarding the recycling of the Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cd) rechargeable battery only. This however still leaves the remainder of the product left to be properly disposed of.
We were able to locate a Norelco-specific mail-in recycling option which purports to recycle the entire electric razor. For more information on this program, please visit this Norelco Shaver Recycling Program page.
Electric razor manufacturer Philips does have a sustainability page with reuse and recycling information (as well as state specific disposal/recycling information) however we were unable to locate information specifically about electric razors. So what’s a fresh-faced user to do?
- It is still recommended that you, at a minimum, properly recycle your rechargeable battery.
- Additionally, contact the product manufacturer and request that they begin offering a full product recycling program. If enough customers speak up, manufacturers will begin to get the message!
So, in answering the question are electric toothbrushes and razors recyclable we’ve discovered the answer is not as clear cut as your freshly cropped face. Oh and keep brushing those teeth – no matter what style toothbrush you use!
Know of an electric toothbrush or razor recycling program? We’d love to hear from you! Please share what you know in the comments section below. Finally, we’ll update this information (as needed) when new recycling information becomes available or as recycling programs disappear.
Feature image credit: Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock