You Could Save Money by Ditching These Disposables and Buying Reusables

a hand holding out a plastic straw
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We provide you with accurate, reliable information. Learn more about how we make money and select our advertising partners.

Saving the planet doesn’t always come cheap.

Many of the disposable products we often use and love are easy to access at low prices, making them preferred over 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.

Buying reusable products may 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.

We took five household products and compared the costs of the reusable versions to the disposable versions. The prices were sourced from Amazon on April 6, 2018.

Reusable vs Disposable

Paper Towels

One cloth kitchen towel costing $1.33 is only slightly more than the cost of one roll of paper towels at a cost of $1.10 per roll.


One cloth diaper costing $4.50 is equal to the cost of about 16 disposable diapers at 28 cents each. The cloth diaper has essentially paid for itself after 16 diaper changes.


A reusable straw costing $1.19 each is equal to the cost of about 30 disposable straws at 4 cents each. After 30 uses, the reusable straw has essentially paid for itself.

Water Bottles

One reusable water bottle costing $13.88 is equal to the cost of about 63 single-use water bottles at 22 cents each. After 63 uses, the reusable water bottle has essentially paid for itself.

Sandwich Bags

One reusable sandwich bag at $5.75 each is equal to the cost of about 192 plastic sandwich bags at 3 cents each. After 192 uses, the reusable sandwich bag has essentially paid for itself.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.