Andrew LaCenere is the CEO of Albatross Designs and the man behind one of our best sellers, our stainless steel safety razor.
We were curious to find out more about Andrew so asked him some questions about his company, mission and products.
What was your inspiration to start Albatross Designs and start up your Shave Shop?
Inspiration came in many forms, but the most important bit may have come from a sailing trip from Cabo back to LA. It was 10 days long and we had very calm weather which provided me the opportunity to think deeply about Albatross. It was here that I realized how a focused goal on, say, eliminating plastic from shaving becomes very meaningful when it succeeds. Many people tend to dwell on the seemingly overwhelming nature of the whole (environmental) problem. We want to break it all down into bite sized, easy steps and actions people can take that will also improve their life.
Can you tell our readers what the impact of disposable razors is on the environment?
Well, for example, 2 billion razors are thrown away each year in the US alone. That's enough to wrap razors end-to-end around the world 6 times! 6 times, from only 1 country for only 1 year. To us that is a bit chilling really; how was this amount of waste ever ok?
What's it like shaving with a double edged safety razor?
Amazing! Truthfully part of the reason the razor was our first product is because it shaves so well. The shave is definitely an upgrade compared to plastic and cartridge razors, and the experience of shaving itself gets enhanced quite a lot by holding a real tool instead of what's about to become a piece of garbage.
Can women use them too or are they mainly for men?
Women can, and definitely should, use them! From Day 1 we've wanted to make the point that a good shaving razor is a good shaving razor very clear. A lot of the plastic razor companies charge women more for basically the same thing, sometimes painted pink. About half of our sales are to women which is surprising to many people, but our razors work great for every shaving need so we weren't very shocked.
We also noticed that you have a Blade Take Back Program, what happens to the recycled blades?
NB: Hong Kong does not currently recycle razor blades but Plastic-Free HK would be happy to return them back to Albatross Designs on your behalf. Please click here to find out more details.
We'd love if you could collect them in HK! Right now we still don't have the scale to reuse the steel regularly in our own products so instead we mainly work with an ethical recycler in California to reuse it. What I really like about the Take Back Program is that we accept any double edged shaving blades not just Albatross ones. Our hope is to reuse all of this incredibly useful material at the highest level possible.
We noticed that you have created the 'Trillion Pieces of Plastic' campaign. Can you tell us about this?
Sure. Basically last summer I was doing some research in Grenada and was walking on what would have been my favorite beach on the island, but it was unfortunately covered in small plastic pieces. I had the thought that there are almost 8 billion people in the world and if only a small percentage of these people -- 1/8th -- committed to picking up 1,000 pieces of plastic in their lifetime, we'd have effectively prevented a trillion pieces of plastic from entering the ocean! It's at once an insanely big goal, but also very attainable. We don't really care about tracking the exact numbers: the journey is the reward. When you actively start picking up someone else's garbage, you quickly develop a deeper perspective regarding your own waste and consumption.
How can our community in Hong Kong get involved?
Well, we'd firstly love you to help spread the idea to all your friends: 1 Billion people X 1,000 pieces of plastic litter in their lifetime = 1 trillion pieces of plastic effectively kept out of the ocean. There are also many organizations that have, say, organized beach and park cleanups that are great for helping people get started. The first piece of trash picked up as you walk down a city street is the hardest. It only keeps getting easier from there!
What's next for you and your team?
We hope lots! We are certainly continuing our push to eliminate plastic from shaving, and there is still a great deal to do on that front. We are also helping to start a San Francisco based natural sailing apparel company, OCEAN SF, which is primarily focused on eliminating polyester fleece from the outdoor industry. Every time a polyester fleece jacket is washed it can pollute up to 250,000 plastic microfibers into the water system-- a huge problem already that isn't even totally quantified yet. We also have a few energy and water saving projects in the pipeline focused on homes and other buildings. As a design company we want to design lots of cool products, but always try to remain focused and not get spread too thin.
Visit Albatross Designs’ website HERE
Purchase the Double-Edged Safety Razor (2 styles to choose from) and Replacement Blades HERE