Monday, May 12, 2008

I have a question:

Do any of my blogging buddlies out there know if it's cheaper to run the dishwasher more or to buy paper plates. Also, what about cloth napkins? Do you know if it's cheaper to buy paper or do more laundery? I guess I could do the research and find the answers to my own questions, but since I'm lazy and don't want to take the time to research this I just wondered if anyone can help me out?

8 comments:

Jen said...

I use paper plates because I'm lazy and don't want to do dishes (that includes putting them in the dishwasher) and I probably use way to many napkins, but I hate using a really used one more than a few times : )

Paul Fuller said...

Hi Beth!

I've actually been wondering about the disposable plate question myself. First, Xcel Energy has a calculator that will help you get an estimate on how much it costs to run your appliances. At 2.8 kWh per load and assuming one load per day, the estimated cost to run your dishwasher is $0.241. If you multiply this by 365, you come up with $87.97 per year. I looked up the biggest supply of paper plates that I could find on Sams Club and found 1000 plates for $32. If one person used 730 plates per year (2 per day), and you have 5 people, you would need 3,650 plates per year ($.03 per plate). With that in mind, you would have to purchase 4 boxes of these plates which would cost you $128 per year. In order to save a whopping $7 per year, you'd have to find plates at $.02 per plate.

That being said, realize that you're adding up a ton of extra garbage for the landfills. Also keep in mind these calculations are not entirely fair because you probably are using the dishwasher for more than plates and it also does not account for the wear and tear on your dishwasher.

Audrea said...

OOOOKKKK, so my husband needs a little more to do during the day! Ha! He just told me it only took him like 5 minutes to do that, but still, leave it to a guy to actually want to solve the math problem! Oh wait, he says, "you still need to factor in the costs of water, soap, and any other plastic ware you'd use." He's killing me, but that's why I keep him around! :)

Carrie said...

That was more than one question but funny I was just thinking about that this week!

party of eight said...

interesting information... i have never used paper plates til this february when all our kids came home... and i am using a ton of diapers... that would be interesting for paul fuller to figure what is cheaper cloth or disposable diapers!

Leah said...

Use what is easiest. The paper plates are not so eco-friendly, but then neither is wasting water. Cost wise, even if you save on the plates, if the saying "time is money" is true, and you factor in the cost of your time, Its probably cheaper to go with the plates.

I justify the paper plates with, they save time, and then I buy the cardboardish ones, that aren't styrophoam, because they will degrade more easily...

And the paper plates are just downright easier!

Leah said...

Use what is easiest. The paper plates are not so eco-friendly, but then neither is wasting water. Cost wise, even if you save on the plates, if the saying "time is money" is true, and you factor in the cost of your time, Its probably cheaper to go with the plates.

I justify the paper plates with, they save time, and then I buy the cardboardish ones, that aren't styrophoam, because they will degrade more easily...

And the paper plates are just downright easier!

Ben and Carissa said...

our family does not use either. We just eat right out of the pan...with our fingers! Just kidding. Hee Hee! We use reg plates usually. I pull out the paper for the fun "pizza" meals. It makes throwing the plates away really fun! I guess my thinking is if I'm going to cook a meal, I going to have to wash dishes anyway. I just throw the plates in with everything else. Plus, don't underestimate the power of a pretty table. I think it makes the food taste even better! I think if there was a big cost difference, I would prob go cheap, but by the looks of the research from your math-man...do what you want and what is easy for you!