13 Wasteful Products You Can Replace to Save $38K & the Planet!
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Save money & the planet with these eco-friendly swaps.
There’s more than one way to save money & the planet. 🙌🏻
Stop buying these 13 products that are a waste of money & opt for these reusable products! Your home, body, & wallet will thank you tenfold!
Here are 13 household items you should ditch immediately:
- Swap Aluminum Foil for Silicone Baking Mats
- Swap Plastic Straws for Reusable Straws
- Swap Paper Towels for Swedish Dishcloths
- Swap Dryer Sheets for Wool Balls
- Swap Water Bottles for Reusable Bottles
- Swap Plastic Bags for Silicone Bags or Bees Wraps
- Swap Kitchen Sponges for a Dish Brush
- Swap Plastic Wrap for Silicone Stretch Lids or Food Huggers
- Swap K-Cups for Reusable Cups or a Pour Over
- Swap New Retail for Consignment Finds
- Swap Swiffers for Reusable Mop Heads
- Swap Tampons for a Menstrual Cup or Period Panties
- Swap Toilet Paper for a Bidet
*Read until the end for our incredible summary of collected savings!💰💸
Here’s how these 13 easy swaps can make a HUGE impact for you & the planet:
1. Ditch aluminum foil & parchment paper in favor of silicone baking mats.
According to Statista, 318.97 million Americans used aluminum foil just in 2020. Producing just 1 ton of aluminum foil takes about 170 million BTUs to produce which is about as much as 1,400 gallons of gasoline. The process also emits about 12 tons of greenhouse gases and takes 400 years to break down after it’s discarded.
The average family is likely to use a standard size roll of Reynolds Wrap in about a month or less. At $4 a roll (or more for larger rolls) you’re spending around $48 a year on tinfoil.
By switching to silicone baking mats, you’ll have a sanitary and simple way to cook all your meals and they’re dishwasher safe! Plus, they can even replace any parchment paper making the savings even greater.
If you get in the habit of using silicone baking mats, you’ll save 24,000 sq. ft. of foil and $480 over the next 10 years! 🎉
2. Swap plastic straws in favor of reusable straws.
Approximately 500 million straws are used each day in America alone – a massive waste of money! A lot of huge companies are nixing plastic straws including Starbucks. There are environmentalist beliefs that by 2050 there will be more weight in straws than fish in the oceans – that’s only 28 years away, friends. 😱
If you have a family of 5 that uses just 1 straw per week, that’s 260 straws a year! 😱 By switching to a reusable straw, you’ll be helping save our oceans and your hard-earned cash. Plus, they come in many forms like silicone (safer for your teeth), stainless steel, and even bamboo!
If you and your family get in the habit of using reusable straws, you’ll nix about 2,600 plastic straws over the next 10 years! 🎉
Hip Tip: Shop our top highly-rated picks for all our favorite reusable straws.
3. Paper towels are a waste of money, so hop on the Swedish dishcloth trend with us!
Ditching paper towels may be a big adjustment for many people, but they’re an even larger culprit to waste in our country. According to ZeroWasteKit “More than 13 billion pounds of paper towels are used each year in the USA, amounting to 40 pounds – the equivalent of 80 rolls – per person, per year.” 😱
And in order to produce all of that paper, it requires a whopping 110 million trees and 130 billion gallons of water per year. GULP! 😳
A 12 pack of Bounty paper towels will run you over $20. If you have a family of four, statistics show that you’ll power through them in three weeks or less! 😳
Swedish dishcloths are biodegradable, useful on many different surfaces, reusable, and easy to clean by throwing them in the dishwasher or washing machine! Over 3,500 Hip readers have already made the switch to Swedish dishcloths with us, so what are you waiting for?!
Collin’s mom is a huge fan of Zap Cloths!
“I am forever hooked on Zap Cloths! It’s impossible to screw up with the Zap cloth and amazingly easy to use – no more sloppy window cleaning! Simply wet in water, wring out a bit, and wipe the window. I am constantly in awe of how it works!”
If you and your family get in the habit of using an environmentally-friendly alternative to paper towels, you’ll save 3,200 rolls or about $4,048 over the next 10 years! 🎉
4. Skip drying sheets which are a toxic waste of money, and toss in a wool ball instead.
As EWG states, dryer sheets are “full of chemicals that can harm your health, damage the environment, and pollute the air, both inside and outside your home.” Plus, most users tend to pop more than just one sheet (natural or not) in the dryer just for good measure. 😏
If you’re using 2 dryer sheets for 5 loads of laundry a week, you’re using an entire box of these dryer sheets in just 10 1/2 weeks. So you’re spending about $30 every year and adding to the toxic waste problem.
Luckily, Amazon offers really affordable dryer balls at just under $12 for an XL 6-pack which will last upwards of 1,000 laundry loads or until they fall apart. Dryer balls also help decrease your drying time, they’re biodegradable, dye-free, non-toxic, and don’t contain any harmful fragrances. You can also opt to use nothing at all and save your cash altogether.
If you get in the habit of using dryer balls, you’ll save 5,250 dryer sheets or about $300 over the next 10 years! 🎉
5. Switch out plastic water bottles for a refillable one instead.
Don’t stop drinking water, just stop drinking it out of plastic. Bottled water is ranked the #1 U.S. beverage by volume sold and according to the Container Recycling Institute, “more than 60 million plastic bottles end up in landfills and incinerators every day – a total of about 22 billion last year.” 😳 Talk about a massive waste of money!
While water consumption continues to grow every year, the average family currently spends about $100 per person each year on bottled water. That’s about 540 bottles per person or 2,160 bottles for a family of 4 per year down the drain – literally.
By investing in a great water bottle that you can reuse every day, you’re not just saving money, but also helping mother nature, too.
If you and your family get in the habit of using reusable bottles, you’ll save 21,600 bottles of water or $4,000 over the next 10 years! 🎉
6. Say “bye” to plastic baggies for reusable wraps & silicone bags!
The number of plastic sandwich baggies I was frivolously using occurred to me when all 3 of my kiddos were in school. Every day, I was using at least 3 baggies per lunch – total waste of money! 😱 That’s 45 sandwich bags in just one week – never mind the random bags I was using for other things when it was convenient.
That’s about 4 boxes of these Ziploc sandwich bags per month! If I stayed on that track, I was projected to spend about $172.32 or more just on baggies that had a lifespan of fewer than 24 hours. 😳
Stasher Bags come in perfect sizes for lunches and plenty of bigger sizes for storing larger quantities of food.
They’re 100% silicone, easy to open & close, freezer & microwave safe, sous vide safe, oven-ready, and can even be thrown in the dishwasher for hassle-free cleaning! They’re endlessly reusable and extremely durable – I’ve had the same ones for over two years and counting! 👏🏻
Here’s another eco-friendly solution for your foods:
Bee’s Wraps are naturally antimicrobial, made from GOTS-certified organic cotton, sustainably sourced beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin. All of the ingredients combined create a malleable and easy-to-use food wrap that can be used over and over again – perfect for packing lunches or storing leftovers! 🙌
If you and your family get in the habit of using reusable wraps & Stasher Bags, you’ll save 21,600 plastic sandwich bags and $1,723 over the next 10 years! 🎉
7. Ditch your old kitchen sponge and replace it with a brush.
Did you know that the sponge is considered the germiest item in your kitchen according to the NYU School of Medicine? And you’re more likely to get food poisoning from an unsanitary sponge in your home than in a restaurant. 😱
It’s recommended to replace your sponge every 2-3 weeks. If you’re replacing your sponges every 2.5 weeks (on average) and buying a 3-pack of these sponges, you’re spending approximately $27 every year.
By using a dish brush in the kitchen, you’re not only saving on disposable sponges, but you’ll even cut down on dish soap when you go for a model with an efficient soap dispenser. Plus, brushes are even dishwasher safe! 🙌🏻
If you get in the habit of using a dish brush, you’ll save 208 sponges and $276 over the next 10 years! 🎉
Hip Tip: If you just can’t ditch your beloved sponge, make the switch to a Sponge Daddy – you’ll never want to use a traditional sponge ever again!
8. Switch out the plastic wrap that’s a total waste of money and opt for silicone stretch lids instead.
According to National Geographic, the average family goes through close to 10 rolls of plastic wrap per year! That’s about $55 per year just for plastic wrap and a huge waste of money when there are better alternatives out there.
Silicone stretch lids are perfect for storing leftovers, covering odd-shaped bowls or ones that don’t have lids, and they work a heck of a lot better than plastic wrap.
They’re also conveniently dishwasher safe, BPA free, non-toxic, keep food fresher for longer, and reduce your household waste (obviously 😏). I’ve had mine for well over two years and they’ve been so handy!
As another alternative for your fruits and veggies, try Food Huggers!
Food Huggers are perfect for those half-eaten foods or tiny jars you never know what to do with. Simply slip these innovative silicone covers on and you have an easy way to preserve foods you may have thrown out otherwise. Yay, for even more savings! 👏🏻
If you get in the habit of using silicone stretch lids and/or Food Huggers, you’ll be saving about 48,000 sq. ft. of plastic wrap or $550 over the next 10 years! 🎉
9. Keurig K-Cups are a waste of money, so switch to reusable cups or opt for a pour-over coffee maker instead.
I’m not one to tell a person how to enjoy their cup of Joe in the morning, but there is no denying K-cups are contributing to a huge amount of plastic waste. In fact, the number of K-Cups that have been trashed in landfills could wrap around the planet 10 times! 😱
If you and your spouse are brewing a cup of coffee with the Keurig every day, that’s 728 K-cups a year, or about 33 of these boxes of Starbucks’ K-cups…priced at $17.99 each. Psst…that’s $593.67 a year. 😳
If you don’t want to kick the convenience of your Keurig to the curb, opt for reusable K-cup pods – there are many options available and they’ll help keep more money in your pocket, create less waste, and still allow you to brew your favorite ground coffee blends.
Or ditch the cups altogether and start making pour-over coffee.
You may really love pour-over brewing as a frugal alternative. This pour-over brewer at Target comes with a stainless steel filter so you won’t even be wasting paper filters to brew your steamy cup of coffee. 🙌 It’s how I enjoy coffee every morning and I’ve had the same set for over 2 years and counting!
If you and your other half get in the habit of using a reusable K-cup or pour over, you’ll save at least 7,280 disposable K-cups or $7,124 over the next 10 years! 🎉
10. Stay away from new retail and buy secondhand clothing.
According to Forbes, more than 150 billion garments are produced annually, enough to provide 20 new garments to every person on the planet, every year. 😳 And Americans throw away about 70 lbs of clothing per person every year. 😱
It’s also ranked the 2nd biggest polluter of freshwater resources on the planet and accounts for 85% of the human-made material found along ocean shores, which is threatening marine wildlife and ending up in our food supply.
Getting rid of some old clothes soon? Check with your local Goodwill or other thrift stores – many of them have textile recycling programs!
According to Credit Donkey, “the average family spends $1,800 per year on [new] clothing” with $388 of this on shoes. Adults (aged 25-34) spend an average of $161 per month on clothing and it increases by 26% for adults aged 35-44 with an average of $209 per month spent on clothes. 😱
If you and your family get in the habit of buying secondhand clothes, you’ll be projected to save $18,000 on new clothes over the next 10 years! 🎉
11. Ditch the Swiffer dry cloths and switch to reusable mop heads!
Have you ever thought about how much waste happens with regular Swiffer cleanings? If you’re averaging 2 dry pads a week, priced at $13.79 for 52, you’re spending over $27.58 a year or more just in Swiffer pads that’ll end up in a landfill.
This isn’t even including the multiple wet Swiffer pads you might use for deeper cleanings.
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly alternative that’s even more effective, consider a Turbo mop, which happens to be made right here in the USA, can be used wet or dry, are reusable, machine washable, and can even be used on multiple surfaces like your walls!
The good news for all of you that already own a Swiffer mop, they even make reusable Swiffer pads (made by Turbo), so you don’t have to eat the cost of a new mop!
If you and your family get in the habit of using reusable mop cloths, you’ll be projected to save more than $250 over the next 10 years! 🎉
12. Tampons & pads are a waste of money, so make the switch to a menstrual cup – it pays for itself!
According to National Geographic, 5.8 billion tampons were sold in the U.S. in 2018, a third of the global total. Even more startling, when tampons are flushed down the toilet, they can end up in the ocean when sewer systems fail. Although plastic applicators from tampons are technically recyclable, they are usually not accepted for sanitary reasons – making tampons a giant waste of money altogether!
Before making my eco-friendly switch, I was personally spending over $10 every month on Tampax products, that’s more than $120 a year.
Menstrual cups are game-changing. They’re 100% silicone, so they’re completely safe for your body (unlike tampons), reusable, and easy to clean – mine still looks brand new two years later!
Even better, it pays for itself in just a couple of cycles! Not to mention, there are incredible benefits to wearing one as opposed to tampons and pads – read all about my experience!
As another alternative, stop buying pads and stock up on period panties.
These aren’t just for post-partum mommies. Any and every woman who gets their cycle can benefit from owning a few pairs of period panties. They’re a great backup to a menstrual cup or can absorb plenty of fluid on their own. Plus, they’re much more comfortable than a bulky or annoying pad – it’s essentially like wearing any other pair of panties, but with more peace of mind. 🙌🏻
If you get in the habit of using a menstrual cup, you’ll be projected to save more than $1,200 over the next 10 years! 🎉
13. Use less toilet paper and try a bidet!
I certainly don’t expect your household to ditch toilet paper altogether, but there are ways to cut back significantly – and it might even save you from sewage problems down the road.
According to BidetsPlus, the average person uses 24 rolls of toilet paper per year! For a family of 4, you’re likely averaging 96 rolls or more per year – priced at $25.49 per 30-pack of toilet paper, you’re easily spending close to $80 per year just to wipe – of course, this can vary significantly with how much I know my kids waste every day!
By switching to a bidet, you can cut back on toilet paper significantly! While they’re not the cheapest alternative, they’re a lifestyle you’ll quickly become accustomed to (and many parts of the world already are!). Plus, they have many other benefits too!
When a family of four incorporates a bidet in their daily lifestyle, it averages a savings of 80 rolls of toilet paper per year – which is a tenth of a tree! This means you’ll likely only need 16 rolls of toilet paper per year for 4 people! 😱That’s a mere $17 on a Cottonelle 18-pack that should last all year!
If you and your family get in the habit of using a bidet, you’ll be projected to save $652.80 or more over the next 10 years! 🎉
Bonus tip: Bring a reusable bag instead of picking up plastic at the store.
Remember, when you’re shopping, bring along some reusable bags. Plastic bags are a huge contributing factor to our waste and if I can’t convince you to make the switch, maybe these scary facts from PADI will…
- Every second, 160,000 plastic bags are used around the world – that’s 1 TRILLION bags a year!
- The amount of petroleum it takes to produce 1 plastic bag could drive a car 36 feet.
- A plastic bag is used for an average of just 12 minutes.
- Less than 3% of plastic bags are recycled worldwide.
- Plastic bags are among the 12 items of debris most found in coastal clean-ups and have affected 267 different species of animals.
- If we joined all the plastic bags in the world together, they would circumnavigate the globe 4,200 times!!!
If just one person used reusable bags over their lifetime, they would be removing about 22,000 plastic bags from the environment! 🙌
Hip Tip: This is my favorite new reusable tote bag which you can personalize for FREE and it has real leather straps!
In summary… if we make these environmentally-friendly changes together over the next 10 years, we can potentially save:
- $480 on aluminum foil
- $4,048 on paper towels
- $300 on dryer sheets
- $4,000 on plastic water bottles
- $1,723 on plastic sandwich bags
- $276 on sponges
- $550 on plastic wrap
- $7,124 on K-cups
- A whopping $18,000 on new clothes
- $250 on Swiffer cloths
- $1,200 on tampons
- $652.80 on toilet paper
That’s an incredible sum of $38,603.80!!! 🎉
*Note that everyone’s family is different in size and these are just estimates based on our research and what the average person uses/buys for each of these products. The outcome or sum of savings can vary greatly and will depend on the cost of what you’re replacing these household items with.