Disposable vs Reusable

Disposable Items

Things I can’t stand buying: anything disposable. And there are a lot of disposable things in our lives. Think about it: toilet paper, tissues, napkins, lunch baggies, make up, hygiene items, trash bags, laundry and dish soap, dryer sheets…it goes on and on…

Paying for disposable things can be a waste of money because you have to keep buying them. Click To Tweet

Paying for disposable things can be a waste of money because you have to keep buying them, so I really try to cut costs on disposable items. Here are a few ways:

Calculate

Calculate cost per use or unit to get the best deal, especially if you’re not picky about brands. (If you are picky about brands, consider being open to other brands.) For example, Option 1 is 32 rolls of toilet paper for $12.99. Option 2 is 48 rolls of toilet paper for $15.99. Divide the price by the quantity of toilet paper rolls. Option 1 is about 41¢ per roll and Option 2 is about 33¢ per role. Option 2 is the better deal. If you find a great deal and you have the storage space, stock up. (You can do the same thing with other products like shampoo by dividing the price by the number of ounces to get the cost per ounce)

Quality

You may not need to consider quality as much with paper towels as with a TV but it should still come into play. If you purchase poor quality paper towels and you have to use twice as many to get the job done, then you just doubled your cost per use.

Eliminate

  • Eliminate the disposable item if possible, by replacing it with something that is reusable. For example, give up plastic baggies in lunch boxes and switch to reusable Tupperware! (You can even get your own “Tupperware” free by reusing containers from things like lunch meat or sour cream etc.)
  • Reassess if the item is necessary in the first place. I got by without dryer sheets for years before I replaced them with these reusable plastic balls. Some items are necessary, such as toilet paper, but others may be luxuries you can do without.

DIY

Consider do-it-yourself options. There are a lot of recipes out there to make your own cleaning supplies, detergents etc at cheaper costs. Just do a quick Google search and try some out! Here’s a recipe for homemade fabric softener to get you started!

Decrease Cost Per Unit/Use

  • You can decrease your cost per use by reusing items if possible. Again, I don’t suggest this with the toilet paper, but other things can be reused. If you can’t part with Ziploc bags in your lunches consider reusing one a few times. Holding a sandwich once doesn’t mean its garbage.
  • Use less. People generally use more of a product than they need to, such as shampoo, toothpaste etc. Consider cutting back on how much of a product you use. (Speaking of shampoo, some people can get by without washing their hair every day and some say it is actually better for your hair and scalp.)
  • Coupons can also greatly decrease your cost per use. If you’re into couponing I suggest focusing your efforts on disposable products. Stack store and manufacturer coupons and use them when the item is on sale. You can also combine them with apps like Target’s Cartwheel.
  • This is somewhat related: When you eat out and McDonald’s gives you 100 napkins, keep them. You’ll probably only use one or two with your meal so there’s no need to throw out the other 98. (They’re great for keeping in the car!) This also applies to things like sauce packets etc. This will give you more use out of the napkins and sauces you actually paid for.

I don’t intend for these suggestions to sound extreme. You should still buy toilet paper and practice good personal hygiene, just consider whether you’re using excess. Try to find the best deals possible on disposable items and replace them with reusable items if possible! (My favorite thing about many of these suggestions is that they are also eco-friendly!)

Disposable Items

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