Save £2,400 this year by not buying single-use plastics

Save £24000-not-buying-single-use-plastics

How to save £2,400 by not buying single-use plastics

At Broke Girl in the City, we are always looking at ways to budget so that we can live a fabulous lifestyle in the city with next to no money. So when this research came through from BRITA UK saying that we could say ourselves a staggering £2,400 a year just by using a reusable cup, we decided to take note!

Looking at the monetary spending on single-use plastic products, this new research has found that Brits’ takeaway habits cost the UK population £65 billion a year. Now that’s a lot of takeaways!

Looks like it’s time to buy a reusable water bottle or coffee cup!

Habitual users* spend £5,080.20 on single-use plastic on-the-go products a year. According to this research, if we switch to reusable products such as a refillable water bottle or coffee cup, we could make a massive saving of £2,397.80!

• The UK spends a staggering £65 billion per year on takeaway convenience purchases in single-use plastic packaging
1 in 10 Brits admit they are not bothered about the environmental damage of single-use plastic products 
• Instead of saving the environment, 87% said saving money would in fact be a key factor in reducing their single-use plastic purchases

Photo by i love simple beyond from Pexels

Brits’ takeaway habits cost the UK population £65 billion a year

The survey of 2,000 adults found 87% of respondents would consider swapping their single-use products for reusable alternatives if it would save them money. Rather disappointingly, 53% admit they are not actually likely to change their single-use plastic habits due to environmental factors. Saving money is clearly a key motivator for the public to switch to more environmentally conscious behaviour.


How the £65 billion figure is broken down – the UK spends per year:

Are we really a country which doesn’t cook anymore? If you take a look at the figures below, billions are spent on takeaway breakfasts, lunches and evening meals. I am guilty of buying coffees en route to work when I am busy. Then buying a Pret or a takeaway lunch. I also buy bottled water throughout the day. When I look at how much this adds up (and is bad for the environment) then I really am going to factor this into my budgets for the year.

Our spending on takeaways:

• £25 billion on at-home takeaways
• £17 billion on takeaway lunches
• £13 billion on takeaway breakfasts
• £10.5 billion on single-use plastic bottled water
• £240 million on takeaway drinks

Bottle water

Habitual single-use plastic users

If you are a habitual single-use plastic user like me, then take a look at some of the amounts below you could be spending in a year! Even though I do have a Starbucks reusable cup in my work drawer, I tend to forget it in the morning. Something after having read this research I am going to change! Who doesn’t want to save £2,400 a year!

Let’s look at how much we could save:

By not using single-use plastic bottles:

• 12.2 single-use plastic bottles a week, that’s £8.70 a week and £452 a year
• If we switched to drinking filtered water in a reusable bottle that’s a cost saving £355.96. Equivalent to a year’s gym membership

By switching to a reusable cup:

• 7.6 takeaway hot drinks (in cups containing single-use plastic) a week, is £21.10 a week and £,1097.20 a year
• Switching to a reusable coffee cup would save £185.64 – equivalent to 4 months electricity bills

Or not buying takeaways:

• 3.9 on-the-go breakfasts (in single-use plastic packaging) a week, is £22.25 a week and £1,157 a year
• Making breakfast at home or in the office would save yourself £717.60. The price of a 24-month phone contract
• 5.8 on-the-go lunches (in single-use plastic packaging) a week, is £22.60 a week and £1,175 a year
• If you bring your lunch with you, you would save £647.20 a year. You could feed a family of four for 3 months
• 4.7 takeaway dinners (in single-use plastic packaging) a week, costs £23.05 a week and £1,198.60 a year
• Ditch the takeaways and cook meals from scratch to save £491.40 per year. Equivalent to over 3 months commuter travel in the UK (obviously depending on where you live!)


Over half (51%) of Brits never buy takeaway drinks in a disposable cup

Not everyone regularly buys single-use food and drink on-the-go. It is actually a few repeat buyers who are causing the most damage. Over half (51%) of Brits never buy takeaway drinks in a disposable cup. 42% never buy single-use plastic bottled water and 43% dont eat takeaway food. It is the habitual users* who are seeing the biggest impact on their wallets. 

A simple switch to reusable products such as reusable water bottles, jugs at home, coffee cups and food containers would help make significant financial savings.

Starbucks for one actively promote their reusable cups. Their goal is for 5% of customers to use reusable cups when buying drinks in their stores.

Sarah Taylor, Managing Director of BRITA UK, said: “Despite the increased media attention and pressure, people are still using far too many single-use plastic products. If the environment is not a motivator, maybe the potential savings will prompt Brits to change their habits.

“Interestingly, the research shows that 61% of bottled water is bought to drink at home, which could be because it simply tastes better. A simple switch in this case would be to buy a water filter jug, which would give them access to great tasting water at all times, as well as helping them save money and the environment.

“With our research, we wanted to shine a light on the harmful effect of takeaway purchases on the environment, and showcase the financial benefits of small, more sustainable swaps. We want to encourage the nation to #SwapForGood and choose reusable alternatives and products that last, saving the environment and pockets at the same time.”

So having read this, will you ditch the plastic? How much will you try and save this year? Let us know in the comments below.

Note: *A habitual user is someone who buys either more than five coffees or hot drinks in a disposable cup every week; more than five single-use plastic water bottles every week or eats a takeaway breakfast, takeaway lunch, or takeaway at home more than three times a week.