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Less Trash, More Cash: Reusing and recycling saves money

The Cost of Convenience

Disposable items are convenient and easy, but that doesn’t mean they’re cheap. If we’re not careful, items such as plastic utensils, baggies and plates can consume a surprising chunk of change.

Here are some usage estimates and annual expenditures for common disposable items:  

Office Dishware: Cut the cups and plastic-ware to save $70 a year at the office.

Working 50 five-day weeks per year, you’ll spend 250 days in the office. If an employee uses two paper cups plus one (sometimes two) plastic utensils daily, an employer can expect to dish out $70 per person annually on paper cups and plastic utensils alone (500 paper cups cost about $50 and a 360-pack of plastic-ware costs about $20).

Hit the cooler and the coffee pot with a reusable tumbler and keep a spare set of silverware at your desk to help avoid unnecessary waste at the office.

Paper Towels: Keep a cloth on-hand to wipe up $40 a year.

An 8-pack of jumbo paper towel rolls runs about $10 and, on the safe side, will last about a month, meaning paper towels wipe out $100 of your annual budget. Instead, turn to rags and cloths for kitchen spills, household cleaning and hand-drying.

Plastic Baggies: Bag $40 by switching to plastic containers.

Plastic baggies are convenient for snacks and small item storage, but it’s easy to get a little carried away. Using just 3 per day, you’ll go through 100 sandwich bags per month, costing you $3. That means you could save nearly $40 per year by switching to reusable plastic containers. Find more tips on breaking your "bag" habit here.

Bottled Water: Turn to the tap to save $156.

At $1 per bottle, that grab ‘n go hydration comes at a cost. One person drinking 3 bottles of water per week will spend $156 annually. Invest in reusable water bottles and turn to the tap.

When you do use plastic bottles, make sure to recycle them in your Rumpke bin.

Your wallet and the environment will thank you for reducing your reliance on these common disposable culprits. What are your most common culprits and what reusable items do you replace them with?

About the Author: Taylor is a corporate communications assistant with Rumpke.

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