It’s the most common question I get asked, but it’s a question that is so often answered incorrectly.
“What’s the cheapest industrial consumable you can buy for more than $1?
It’s usually a $2 to $3 product,” explains Dr. Lisa Wolkoff, president of the American Chemical Society.
“If it’s an oil-based chemical, it’s probably a $4 or $5 product, because it’s not really a $1 product,” Wolkoffs’ research shows.
“But it’s usually something in the $2 or $3 range.”
“The key is that you want to look at things in terms of the cost to make them, and how much that price is for the whole supply chain,” Wochoff adds.
For instance, if you buy a $10 bottle of shampoo for $2, it would cost you $1.10 to make that bottle.
If you bought a $30 bottle of dish soap for $3, that’s $2.30.
“And then, of course, you have to think about the quality of the product,” says Wolkofs research.
“It has to be clean and it has to have a long shelf life.”
And it’s also important to understand how the products are made, so that you can make an informed decision on which products are worth the cost.
Wolkonks findings were published in the journal Applied Science & Engineering.
“The best-performing industrial chemicals and chemical additives are often the ones that you’re buying to make more money,” she says.
“We know that when we buy something from a factory, it costs about 5 cents to make and then we pay for the cost of the finished product.”
But this cost doesn’t take into account how the finished products are constructed, the amount of cleaning required, or how much the chemicals have to be kept in order to keep them safe.
The study showed that manufacturers often have to use cheaper materials than the best-available chemicals.
The chemicals used in some products are often cheaper to make, Wolkos research showed.
“You can get some very cheap products, and you can also get some really expensive products that are very, very expensive,” she explains.
Wochowks research found that in some industrial processes, such as chemical mixing, it takes longer for chemicals to break down and produce their final products.
And even if you’re able to purchase an expensive industrial product, it can still take months or even years to finish and package it.
So what’s the best way to make the best value for money?
Wolkons research found a few simple strategies for getting the most bang for your buck.
“I think the most important thing is to have as many options available as possible,” she tells Business Insider.
“That means having choices in the product, so you can pick one that you feel is going to be a good investment.”
Wolkoins research also showed that if you want a product that is more environmentally friendly, then you should choose something that is less likely to be made from petroleum, like plastic or metal.
“As we move into the future, plastics are becoming more prevalent in everyday life, and this is not the case with some chemicals that are often used in the industrial processes,” she notes.
Wokos study also showed the best time to purchase industrial chemicals is when the industry is expanding.
“Industrial products can only get more and more complicated and costlier as companies continue to expand, and it makes sense to make sure you’re getting the right product,” she adds.
Wohl is a certified sustainability expert, which means she can offer an analysis of a product and help customers make the most informed decision possible.
Wocko’s research also found that when consumers are buying industrial chemicals, they’re often buying products that they can’t afford.
“People want products that aren’t going to have long-term use and that are going to keep the environment in mind,” Wockos says.
But Wolkows research showed that many consumers aren’t aware that they’re buying into the same kind of corporate welfare.
“A lot of people buy industrial chemicals for the sake of environmental impact, but they don’t know that their purchases are costing them more money and environmental harm,” she points out.
“There’s also a lot of misinformation out there that tells consumers that if they buy a product, they’ll get it for free or at a lower price.
This is not true.”