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illustration: Switching to Reusable Cups and Bowls at a City Agency Cafeteria
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Replacing disposable cups and bowls with reusable ones in your employee cafeteria can improve waste prevention efforts and lower your Agency’s procurement costs.

Changing to reusable serviceware requires washing stations, and possibly the purchase of an industrial dishwasher and some increased labor costs. However, the cost savings associated with this changeover may make these investments worth considering.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING THE MEASUREMENT TOOL

Use the worksheet below to calculate the waste prevention benefits and savings of replacing disposable cups and bowls with reusable ones.

The fields highlighted in YELLOW represent the variables that you need to enter for your City Agency. The GREY worksheet field contains default assumptions for calculation purposes; you can change these if the information is different for your Agency.

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.)

Worksheet

QUANTITIES & COSTS OF DISPOSABLES

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

Weight per disposable cup (in ounces)

Weight per disposable bowl (in ounces)

Purchase cost per disposable cup

Purchase cost per disposable bowl

START-UP COSTS FOR REUSABLE CUPS AND BOWLS

Cost of industrial dishwasher

Purchase cost for one 8-oz ceramic mug

Purchase cost for one polycarbonate bowl

calculate savings
start over

totals and savings

 

TOTALS

Purchasing cost of disposable cups and bowls

Start-up costs for switching to reusable cups and bowls 1

Wash-up costs for reusable cups and bowls 2

SAVINGS

 

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

Subsequent year’s savings

Payback period (in years)

Amount of waste prevented (in pounds)



  1. Assumes the purchase of one cup and bowl per employee.
  2. Assumes 50 cups and bowls cleaned per wash, with total labor, soap, and utilities costs of $2.59 per wash.
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