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Can You Save Money With These Eco-Friendly Household Products?

Sustainable living generally comes with a hefty price tag, but some products can save you money down the road. Find out where you can save on sustainable household products, and where you may need to splurge.

Sustainable living is taking center stage as the world's climate issues continue. Many are undertaking this initiative at home and incorporating organic, recyclable and reusable products into their daily routine. These items may 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 may need to splurge.

The Upfront Costs of Sustainable Products Are Not Sustainable

Companies like Unpackt, Zhai, and The Green Collective offer a variety of sustainable household products, ranging from biodegradable toilet paper to all-natural laundry detergent. When comparing costs of these sustainable products to their unsustainable counterparts, we found that being eco-friendly generally comes with a higher upfront cost.

Table comparing eco-friendly products to non-eco-friendly products

Sustainable household products are currently more expensive than their unsustainable counterparts. However, if you are seeking to bring eco-friendly products into your home, you can begin with biodegradable or recycled toilet paper. Eco-friendly toilet paper is only 4% more expensive than its unsustainable counterpart, which makes it a good entry-level product for a sustainable home.

On the list, the widest cost gap applies to eco-friendly laundry detergent. In fact, you may end up paying 188% more on a 2-liter bottle of plant-enzyme-based detergent than on a bottle of Dynamo. While organic detergents are more gentle on the skin (which is good for those with allergies), it's not 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 switch to sustainable living, but don't want to want to break the bank in the process. A tenet of sustainability is reusability, like reusing a silicone food container instead of going through a box of plastic ziploc bags each month.

Table comparing sustainable products to their cost equivalents of non-sustainable products

Before you say no to the high upfront costs of sustainable products, it's important to consider their long-term use, as well as how much you are saving by not buying their unsustainable counterparts. A set of silicone snack bags costs as much as 4 boxes of ziploc sandwich bags. This means that you are not only reducing your plastic use (by 400 non-biodegradable bags), but also reducing your shopping bill by S$6.84 per box after meeting the cost equivalent.

The same applies to silicone and beeswax container lids, which allow you to forgo plastic and foil coverings, as well as new purchases of plastic containers for leftovers. By stretching a silicone lid over any bowl or container that you already own, you can stop using plastic wraps all together and save approximately S$3.35 per box (after meeting the cost equivalent of 5 boxes).

Save Money On Cleaning Products By Going Straight To The Source

Sometimes sustainable living means sacrificing convenience for the more eco-friendly option. In the case of laundry, liquid and powder detergent are the most popular and fuss-free forms. But you can actually save money and yourself from toxic chemicals by skipping the non-organic cleaning mixture and heading straight for all-natural ingredients that do the same job.

If you seek to do sustainable laundry but don't want to pay the high cost of a sustainable detergent, you could consider magnesium-based laundry replacements, soap nuts, or laundry bars for your next cycle.

Table showing # of loads for laundry detergent replacements

On the premise that you use a bottle cap of laundry detergent per load, you can get about 45 cycles out of a 2kg bottle. Technically, this means that the magnesium-based Hexawash laundry replacement is still roughly 14% more expensive than a 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 sustainable living into your home.

If you really want to save money, soap nuts or laundry bars are your best option. Approximately 4-6 soap nuts can be used per cycle (as well as reused multiple times), which results in you saving 44% of the cost that a regular laundry detergent would amount to. Additionally, a gentle soap nut cleanser can be used for dishes, fruits & veggies, and just about any surface in your house, meaning you'll get the most bang for your buck with this option.

Even though laundry bars are generally used on-the-go, you can dilute a bar in water to create your own liquid detergent. By doing so, you can save up to 60% by setting aside Dynamo and creating a DIY laundry detergent. Simply mix your laundry bar into approximately 2 liters of water and you'll have enough safe and organic detergent to last about 125 loads.

Offset Upfront Costs Of With Cashback Reward Programs

The right credit card can help you offset the upfront costs of sustainable shopping. If you're ordering bamboo kitchenware or reusable kitchen towels, make sure to take advantage of your credit card's cashback system. Some cards like the OCBC Frank Credit Card offer a 6% rebate on online spending, which will come in handy if you're adding some pricier sustainable home products to your shopping cart.

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Natalia Sanchez-Kumar

Natalia Sanchez-Kumar is a Junior Research Analyst at ValueChampion. She is a History graduate of New York University and has worked in the area of social impact, Future of Work and socio-technological research in the US and India. She has co-authored policy proposals alongside the International Labour Organisation in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, as well as hosted a data privacy conference with Facebook in New Delhi.

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