When I began researching cloth diapers, I'll be honest, I was not really concerned about being environmentally friendly or conserving waste. I was more interested in the money-saving aspect. I realized I could save at least $500 my first year of diapering, so I started to wonder how much more I could save if I used cloth wipes. I bought Kissaluvs Diaper Lotion Potion and filled an empty wipes container with extra washcloths I got at my baby shower. The best part is I have less of a mess with poopy diapers because I can just wash the wipes with the diapers. Easy peasy!
Now I was hooked. It was so easy, I started thinking about all of the other disposable products in my house. What about Ziploc bags? Paper towels? Napkins? How much money could I save if I had reusable versions instead? If you think about it, you don't really have to go too far to find linen, cotton, bamboo, or hemp alternatives. Many Etsy stores sell unpaper towels for as little as $1/piece. Bear with me, as I'm not a math teacher... If you go through two rolls of paper towels a week, and a 12-pack costs $15, that's $1.25 per roll which would be $2.50/week. That comes out to about $130 a year. If you keep a stash of about 30, that's a savings of almost $100 just in the first year.
We pretty much hemorrhage Ziploc bags in our house, so I wondered how I could save by using reusable snack bags or Bento boxes for lunches. Planetwise actually sells snack bags in five different sizes/styles. (I'll have to get back to you on the math, but you could definitely replace hundreds of plastic snack bags every year.) And a Bento box is a great way to provide your kiddos (and yourself, if you bring lunch to work) with a waste-free lunch and save you about $250/year!
I personally love the idea of scratching these items off of my grocery list. It also helps to declutter the pantry. How much room does your bulk stash of paper towels take up? Do you have a drawer dedicated to five different types of snack bags? Wouldn't you love to use that precious storage space for something more important and less wasteful?