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Sustainable living takes center stage as global climate challenges continue. Many take this initiative at home and incorporate organic, recyclable and reusable products into their daily routine.
These items can be good for the environment, but are they good for your bank account? Read ahead to find out where you can save money in your sustainable home, and where you might need to splurge.
The initial costs of sustainable products are not sustainable
Companies like Unpackt, Zhai, and The Green Collective offer a variety of sustainable household products, from biodegradable toilet paper to all-natural laundry detergent.
By comparing the costs of these sustainable products to their unsustainable counterparts, we have found that being environmentally friendly usually comes with a higher initial cost.
Sustainable household products are currently more expensive than their unsustainable counterparts. However, if you are looking to bring eco-friendly products into your home, you can start with biodegradable or recycled toilet paper.
Eco-friendly toilet paper is only four percent more expensive than its unsustainable counterpart, making it a good entry-level product for a sustainable home.
On the list, the biggest cost difference is for eco-friendly laundry detergent. In fact, you could end up paying 188% more on a two-liter bottle of plant enzyme detergent than on a bottle of Dynamo.
While organic detergents are gentler on the skin (which is good for allergy sufferers), they aren’t as gentle on your bank account.
Some eco-friendly products can save you money in the long run
There are other alternatives for those who want to make the switch to a sustainable lifestyle, but don’t want to break the bank in the process. A principle of sustainability is reuse, like reusing a silicone food container instead of going through a box of plastic ziplock bags every month.
Before saying no to the high upfront costs of durable products, it’s important to consider their long-term use, as well as how much you’re saving by not buying their non-durable counterparts. One set of silicone snack bags costs up to four boxes of ziploc sandwich bags.
This means that you not only reduce your plastic use (by 400 non-biodegradable bags), but also your purchase bill of $ 6.84 per box after reaching the equivalent cost.
The same goes for silicone and beeswax container lids, which let you forgo plastic and aluminum coatings, as well as new plastic container purchases for leftovers.
By stretching a silicone lid over any bowl or container you already own, you can stop using plastic wrap and save about $ 3.35 per box (after hitting the equivalent of the cost of five boxes ).
Save money on cleaning products by going straight to the source
Sometimes a sustainable lifestyle means sacrificing convenience for the greener option. In the case of laundry, liquid and powder detergents are the most popular and simpler forms.
But you can actually save yourself money and toxic chemicals by skipping the non-organic cleaning mix and heading straight for all-natural ingredients that do the same job.
If you’re looking to do durable laundry but don’t want to pay the high cost of a durable detergent, you may want to consider magnesium-based laundry substitutes, soapnuts, or laundry bars for your next cycle.
Assuming you use one bottle cap of laundry detergent per load, you can achieve about 45 cycles with a 2 kg bottle. Technically, this means that Hexawash’s magnesium-based laundry substitute is still around 14% more expensive than regular detergent.
However, you will find that it is 186% cheaper than the average organic detergent, which still makes it a good option to consider if you want to incorporate a sustainable lifestyle into your home.
If you really want to save money, soapnuts or laundry bars are your best option. About four to six soap nuts can be used per cycle (as well as reused multiple times), saving you 44% the cost of regular laundry detergent.
Plus, a mild soapnut cleaner can be used on dishes, fruits and vegetables, and just about any surface in your home, meaning you’ll get your money’s worth with this option.
Although laundry bars are typically used on the go, you can dilute one bar in water to make your own liquid laundry.
In doing so, you can save up to 60% by setting aside Dynamo and creating a DIY laundry detergent. Simply mix your laundry bar in about two quarts of water and you’ll have enough safe, organic detergent to last about 125 loads.
Offset upfront costs with cash back programs
The right credit card can help offset the upfront costs of sustainable purchases. If you’re ordering bamboo cookware or reusable paper towels, be sure to take advantage of your credit card refund system.
Some cards, like the Frank OCBC Credit Card, offer a 6% discount on online spending, which will come in handy if you add more durable and expensive household products to your cart.