I get a lot of questions about the “price” of Zero Waste. Have I suddenly come into a lot of money, or have a suddenly gone hipster, because Zero Waste has to be more expensive, right?
Wrong! I have studied the amount of money that I spent before, as opposed to how much I spend now, and I wanted to break it down for you. Now I know, prices are different in every part of the world, but I think what we will see is not that Zero Waste items are always cheaper, but conscious decisions make sure you get the best product for you, your health, and the environment – and I promise, you will spend less money.
I thought I would start with cleaning because that is an area that I know I have saved money. Cleaning items do not get purchased in every weekly/monthly shop, but they are always some of the most expensive items. For the sake of this experiment, I am going to pretend that I moved, that I have nothing for cleaning and I need to start from scratch. Here is my “shopping list”
- Spray for the shower
- Spray for the countertops
- Spray for the windows, mirrors, and frames
- Spray for the stove, oven, and microwave (multipurpose)
- Cloths (i was never one for paper towels)
- Dishwashing Sponges
- Laundry Powder
- Bleach/Toilet Cleaner
- Disinfectant spray
- Dishwashing Liquid
Then, I priced this out at one of the major supermarkets in my area. I chose name brand products, but I chose the one on special where possible. In true fashion of my pre Zero Waste life, if they were 2 for 1, or had some kind of deal, I definitely purchased that. This is what I would have spent.
- Ajax Professional Bathroom Cleaner Trigger 500ml $5.00
- Windex Glass Cleaner Trigger Crystal Rain 500ml $4.00
- Windex Glass Cleaner Trigger 500ml $4.00
- Ajax Lemon Multi-purpose Cleaner 500ml $3.00
- Chux Heavy Duty Superwipes Roll 25 pack $5.99
- Scotch-brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge 3 pack $4.29
- Cold Power 2 In 1 Laundry Powder With A Touch Of Fabric Softner 1.8kg $16.50
- Domestos Disinfectant Bleach Toilet Cleaner Original 1.25l – $5.50
- Glen 20 Disinfectant Spray Original Scent 300g $6.80
- Morning Fresh Dishwashing Liquid Lemon Super Strength 900ml $3.95
Total Price: $59.03
Now, this is what I would purchase in replace of these items.
- Essentials White Vinegar 2l $1.20 (diluted with water) and Bulk Bicarb Soda 1kg $3.50
- Full Circle Tidy Dish Cloths (3) – Grey $9.95
- Ecostore dish scrubber brush head $7.95
- Eco-friendly Lavender Laundry Liquid 500ml $7.47
- Bulk Dishwashing Liquid 500ml $7
Total Cost – $37.07
Notice any difference? I know I had for the marketing myth that we need a different cleaning product for every cleaning job – but we don’t. For most cleaning, a vinegar and water mix will do the job. For more stubborn cleaning jobs, add in some bicarb soda. I challenge you to find a cleaning job that this won’t work for. Plus, the number of chemicals I was previously bringing into my house? No thank you!
But, well, whatever your stance on plastic, waste or chemicals in the environment, the proof is in the price. You save $21.97 by purchasing these options!
Have any other Zero Waste swaps that save you money? I would love to see your comments below!