Can a paper cut ever be a good thing? As designer Nadeem Haidery was thinking about new ways to make things out of paper, he wondered if paper’s ability to slice through skin might be turned into a new product. The result was a prototype for a new disposable razor that could end up in the recycling bin with your office paper.
Spoiler alert: The Paper Cut Razor doesn’t actually work, in part because paper cuts tend to happen when you accidentally swipe across your skin, rather than by moving up and down. But Haidery thinks the fictional product could serve another purpose–reminding everyone who uses disposable razors about how many they’re throwing out. (In the U.S. alone, the number is close to 2 billion razors a year.)
“Current disposable razors tend to be overdesigned and combine multiple materials in a way that makes them unrecyclable,” Haidery says. “Additionally, manufacturers use artificial obsolescence in features like fade strips to accelerate the rate of disposal. So even if an entirely paper-based razor isn’t feasible, I think there are definitely better, more responsible ways of designing plastic disposable razors.”
Haidery also still believes that something an ordinary and unpleasant as a paper cut can be turned into something of practical value. “The project was about taking something that we think of as a pain and turning it into something useful,” he says. “We take for granted the mundane, but everyday experiences can provide inspiration for design.”