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back to Calculate your Workplace SavingsSwitching to Reusable Cups and Bowls at a Business Cafeteria

Replacing disposable cups and bowls with reusable ones in your employee cafeteria can reduce your company’s purchasing costs and waste removal costs.

Changing to reusable serviceware requires the purchase of dishware, and (if not already in place) an industrial dishwasher and washing stations. Additional labor costs may also be incurred. The longterm cost savings associated with this changeover, however, may make these investments worth considering.

Instructions for Using the Measurement Tool

The worksheet below is a simple cost-comparison tool where you can plug in your business’s costs and variables to determine whether replacing disposable cups and bowls with reusable serviceware will save you money. The current costs and variables presented in the worksheet represent default assumptions for calculation purposes only. If the information varies for your business, simply enter the correct information in the appropriate field.

After completing the worksheet, click on “Calculate the savings!” to see the cost savings of switching to reusable cups and bowls. (Note: If you make subsequent changes to the worksheet, click on “Calculate the savings!” again to recalculate.)



Number of disposable cups used per employee (per day)

Number of disposable bowls used per employee (per day)

Number of employees using cups and bowls

Number of work days per year

Purchase cost per disposable cup

Purchase cost per disposable bowl

Waste disposal costs (per 55-gallon bag)1


Capital costs

Cost of an industrial dishwasher

Purchase cost for one 8-oz ceramic mug

Purchase cost for one polycarbonate bowl

Operation costs

Number of wash loads required (per day)2

Labor required per wash (in minutes)

Labor rate (per hour)

Other wash costs (per wash)3

  1. According to the Business Integrity Commission $4.33 is the maximum allowable limit a carter can charge a NYC business for removal of loose waste in a 55-gallon bag.
  2. Assumes 50 mugs or bowls are cleaned per wash.
  3. Includes costs per wash for soap, water, and electricity; assumes 2.5 gallons of water used per wash.

calculate the savings
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Results: Annual totals and savings




Capital costs1

Operational costs

Disposable cup and bowl costs

Labor costs

Other wash costs

Waste disposal costs2

Total operational costs


Total first-year savings due to using reusable cups and bowls

Subsequent year’s savings

Payback period (in years)

Amount of waste prevented (in pounds)3

  1. Assumes one cup and bowl is purchased for each employee
  2. Assumes that a 55-gallon bag can hold 600 cups or 324 bowls.
  3. Assumes that an 8 fluid ounce cup and bowl respectively weigh 0.34 and 0.48 ounces.

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