Many of the disposable products we use and love are easier to buy at lower prices than their reusable counterparts.
But the convenience of disposable products often comes at a steep cost to the environment. Plastic bags and straws pollute the ocean and end up being ingested by sea animals. Disposable diapers take hundreds of years to decompose in landfills.
Reusable products often cost more up front, but you may be surprised to find out how soon they end up paying for themselves since you can use them again and again instead of buying more of the disposable versions.
9 Reusable Products That Will Save You Money Over Time
We took nine household products, searched for both reusable and disposable versions on Amazon and compared the costs. Here’s how they stacked up.
Editor’s note: The prices in this post are valid as of April 8, 2021.
A stainless steel straw costing $0.50 (or $7.99 for a set of 16), is equal to the cost of about eight disposable straws at 6 cents each. That means that after eight uses, the reusable straw has essentially paid for itself — plus you’ve got 15 more left over.
Think about it this way: You’ll only spend about a dollar more for the reusable set, but you’ll continue to get use out of them while their throwaway counterparts would just become trash. One reusable bag can be used more than 300 times.
Diaper prices can vary widely. For example, cheap (read: leaky) store-brand diapers cost just a few cents each, while a box of Pampers can set you back nearly $25. The same is true of cloth diapers.
For this comparison, take a cloth diaper costing about $4.66 and a disposable diaper at 30 cents each. The cloth diaper has paid for itself after 16 diaper changes.
Multiply that over two years of a child’s life before potty training, and there are major savings to be had by reusing cloth diapers — many of which are adjustable to keep up with your baby’s growth.
Did you even know there was a reusable alternative to those little pods of delectable, life-giving coffee? There totally is!
While a box of 40 Starbucks K-Cups will set you back $33.49 (OUCH), a set of four reusable pods that you just refill with your favorite ground coffee runs $9.95.
7. Dryer Balls
If you’ve never heard of dryer balls, they’re little wool balls about the size of a tennis ball that you throw in your dryer with your wet laundry in place of fabric-softening dryer sheets. Because the wool can absorb some moisture from your clothes, manufacturers claim they cut down on energy use and drying time.
That’s a considerable up-front cost, but these products — and really all reusable replacements — are all about long-term savings.
Not to mention tossing a little less waste in the landfill.
Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Senior editor Molly Moorhead contributed to this report.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.