Plastic Challenge #8: Cost Analysis


Save Our Shores has come a long way since we first implemented our plastic-free policy in January of this year. We’ve learned how to consume less plastic at the grocery store and how to avoid unwanted plastic packaging in the shipments we receive. Our ultimate goal is to host entirely plastic-free events, but for now, we’re taking baby steps.

The Save Our Shores team has been interested in conducting a cost-benefit analysis of shopping plastic-free for some time. As a nonprofit, we understand the desire and necessity to save money, but we also believe that taking action to reduce our plastic consumption is incredibly important. Our hope is that this cost analysis of shopping plastic-free influences others to take a part in our plastic-free challenge.

Here are two examples of how shopping plastic-free really does save money:

1. Water bottles

Health officials say people should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day (64 ounces total). A reusable and entirely plastic-free 27-ounce Klean Kanteen costs $32.95 and is said to last a lifetime. In order to consume the recommended amount of water for one day, a person would have to refill the aforementioned Klean Kanteen three times.

In comparison, a case of plastic water bottles from Costco costs $8.25, and contains 24 (16.9 ounce) single-use water bottles. A person would have to drink four of these bottles per day in order to meet the health standard.


Klean Kanteen 27 oz

Now let’s do the math. Following doctors’ orders, a case of water bottles from Costco would only last a person six days. Four cases of those plastic water bottles is equivalent to the price of just one 27-ounce Klean Kanteen.

The best option for consumers is apparent. Just say no to plastic water bottles. It saves the consumer money and protects the environment!

2. Bread

Buying bread plastic-free requires a behavior change for most people. At Trader Joe’s, the average cost of sliced bread packaged in plastic is approximately $3.09. In comparison, a fresh loaf of bread made with organic ingredients by Companion Bakeshop in Santa Cruz costs $4.50.

companion bakeshop

Companion Bakeshop bread

Although there is a slight price increase (in this case, $1.41) when shopping for bread that is not packaged with plastic, the environmental impact makes it worth it in the long term. Just think: That’s one less piece of plastic sitting in a landfill.

– SOS Intern Kim Marks

Additional resources:

Plastic Free Shopping

Is saving money a good reason to go plastic-free?

Buying less plastic = spending less money

Save more money and use less plastic

Go green, save money

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