Replacing single-use items with reusable alternatives saves the planet and saves you money. But exactly how much money?
Below, we’ve calculated the savings for swapping five everyday items with greener products. These prices are approximate as the exact cost will vary depending on the specific green alternative you purchase.
A typical disposable razor is designed to last for 3-10 shaves, which means a daily or near-daily shaver needs a replacement razor every week or two. This adds up to a range of 26-52 new plastic razors every year. With the average razor cost of $5.38, this wasteful shaving routine amounts to $139.88-$279.76 a year.
Approximate savings: $104.90 - $244.78 in the first year, $124.91 - $264.79 in every subsequent year.
Most Americans use paper towels, with the average American consuming 5-7 rolls of paper towels a month, or 60-84 rolls a year. The most popular brand of toilet paper costs $1.90-$2.40 per roll, which equates to $114-$201.60 a year.
Alternatively, a reusable Swedish dishcloth (which can replace 17 rolls of paper towel) costs $5 per dishcloth and is biodegradable after it’s fully used, meaning it’s cheaper and less wasteful per use.
Approximate savings: $84.00 - $171.60 a year.
The typical American buys 156 plastic water bottles annually at an average price of $1.98 which totals $308.88 a year. The water in these plastic bottles is approximately 2,0000 times as expensive as tap water.
It’s a no-brainer: buy a durable, reusable water bottle (generally $9.99 - $34.95) to completely replace these single-use plastics and ultimately save money.
Approximate savings: $273.93 - $298.89 in the first year, $308.88 in every subsequent year.
Depending on where you are in the U.S., a single-use plastic bag comes with a fee of $0.05 or $0.10 (or might be totally banned). Given that the average American uses approximately one plastic bag a day, or 365 a year, your plastic bag consumption could cost you $18.25-$36.50 a year.
Depending on the bag you purchase, whether it’s a recycled, reusable grocery bag or a random reusable tote you got for free that’s been hiding in the back of your closet, a reusable bag represents a one-time cost that will last for years.
Approximate savings: $7.76 - $36.50 in the first year, $18.25 - $36.50 in every subsequent year.
Since dryer sheets typically come in packs of 200-250 and a typical dryer uses one sheet for small to medium-sized loads and two for larger loads, you might go through one box in anywhere from 100 to 250 loads of laundry. While that seems like a lot, the average American does laundry 25 times a month and 300 times a year. Depending on your use, you might go through 2-3 dryer sheet boxes per year to the tune of $0.05 per dryer sheet ($15-$30 per year).
A simple, eco-friendly alternative to dryer sheets is breaking out a kitchen pantry staple: vinegar. You could also replace dryer sheets with reusable wool dryer balls which last for over 1,000 loads. With a price of $9.99, wool dryer balls could cost you $0.00999, or less than a penny per use. Since you would need 1,000 or even potentially 2,000 individual dryer sheets to match dryer balls, you could save $40.01-$90.01.
Approximate savings: $5.01 - $20.01 per year. $40.01 - $90.01 if considering the full lifespan of dryer ball products.
With your FutureCard Visa Debit Card, you can save even more money on these purchases by getting 5% cash back on climate-smart spending. What would you do with all that cash? Click here to get your FutureCard Visa Card and start saving on eco-friendly purchases.