We have put together thousands of product photos to compare prices for reusable and disposable products in this video. The cost reflects the prices for 2019. Chris Zuppa / The Penny Hoarder
Saving the planet is not always cheap.
Many of the single-use products we use and love are easier to buy at lower prices than their reusable counterparts.
However, the convenience of disposable products often comes at a high cost to the environment. Plastic bags and straws pollute the ocean and are ingested by marine animals. Disposable diapers take hundreds of years to decompose in landfills.
Reusable products often cost more upfront, but you will be surprised how quickly they will pay for themselves in the end, since you can use them over and over instead of buying more disposable versions.
9 Reusable Products That Will Save You Money Over Time
We took nine household products, searched Amazon for reusable and disposable versions, and compared the costs. So they piled up.
Editor's note: The prices in this post are effective as of January 29, 2021.
A stainless steel straw costs $ 0.50 (or $ 7.99 for a set of 16) and is the equivalent of about 8 disposable straws of 6 cents each. This means that after 8 uses, the reusable straw will essentially have paid for itself – and you have 15 left.
A reusable water bottle for $ 16.30 is the same as the cost of about 25 disposable water bottles of 65 cents each.
Translation: Refill your bottle 25 times and you have paid for the water in full.
Diaper prices can vary widely. For example, inexpensive (read: leaky) private label diapers cost just pennies each, while a box of Pampers can make you nearly $ 25 a week. The same applies to cloth diapers.
For this comparison, use a cloth diaper for $ 5 and a disposable diaper for 29 cents. The cloth diaper paid for itself after 17 diaper changes.
Multiply that over two years of a child's life before potty training. Significant savings can be made by reusing cloth diapers. Many of these are adjustable to keep pace with your baby's growth.
This set of 15 reusable, resealable bags costs $ 11.99 while a box of 150 Ziploc bags costs around $ 12.99.
Think of it this way: before you replace that box with disposable bags, you have already paid more than you paid for your reusable set.
A cloth kitchen towel costs $ 1.58 less than a roll of family-sized paper towels and is $ 2.75 per roll. Enough said.
If you've never heard of dryer balls, they are tiny wool balls the size of a tennis ball that you toss in your dryer with your wet laundry instead of fabric-softening dryer sheets. Because the wool can absorb some moisture from your clothing, manufacturers state that it will reduce energy consumption and drying time.
They can save you pennies too. A set of six reusable wool dryer balls costs $ 9.97, while a box of 240 disposable dryer sheets costs about a dollar less – but you'll have to refill them when you use them all. This is a no-brainer.
Did you even know there is a reusable alternative to those little pods of delicious, life-giving coffees? There is totally!
While a box of 40 Starbucks K-Cups will return you $ 33.37 (OUCH), a set of four reusable cups that you are currently refilling with your favorite coffee will cost you $ 10.95.
Razors are synonymous with disposable. A box of 24 plastic items: $ 18.99. A single reusable chrome safety razor (that makes you feel like Don Draper): $ 14.66.
You need to replace the blade of the reusable blade. Don't worry, they're cheap. A box of 100 is $ 9.88 – about 10 cents each.
Listen up, girls. We're here to tell you that you are not – we repeat, NOT – doomed to pay an exorbitant monthly fee on tampons, liners, and pads (not to mention Midol) just for the privilege of being feminine to be.
With a box of 40 tampons for $ 12.25 and 66 pads that cost $ 6.38 each month of your adult life, that's … a lot. Keep this in mind: A pair of Thinx-era underwear is $ 23, and a Diva mug is $ 32.99.
This is a significant upfront cost, but these products – and indeed any reusable replacement product – are about long-term savings.
Not to mention tossing a little less rubbish into the landfill.
Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Senior Editor Molly Moorhead contributed to this report.
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