Lauren Singer wants to change the way you shop. And not just by buying local produce or bringing your own bag rather than using a carrier – this is a radical shift to sustainable consumerism.
The 26 year old New Yorker and former Sustainability Manager at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection gained notoriety as the woman who could fit all the rubbish she'd produced over two years into a single mason jar. Her blog, Trash Is For Tossers, helps others to shoot for a 'zero waste lifestyle,' while her business, The Simply Co, makes organic, vegan cleaning products.
Her latest venture is Package Free Shop. Located in Brooklyn, it's a place where locals can grab sustainable deodorant cream, bamboo toothbrushes and stainless steel containers for bulk grocery shopping.
Actualised together with her business partner Daniel Silverstein, who makes zero waste clothing line Zero Waste Daniel, demand for the shop's wares has been high: "We're constantly having to re-order, as we sell out so quickly," says Lauren, over the phone from the US. So much so, that plans for more are already underway – with hopes for a London branch "within the next three years."
(The rejection of the plastic that most of our food and household items come wrapped in is building momentum has already begun here in Europe – in Devon, zero waste shop Earth.Food.Love lets customers bring their own containers to buy nuts, pulses and grind your own nut butter, as well as stocking up on cleaning products and re-useable sanitary products, while Original Unverpackt (Original Unpacked) in Berlin has pioneered the waste-free supermarket model.)
In Brooklyn, Lauren says that people over all ages and demographics wander into the shop – not just a bunch of hipster millennials or old school hippies. "People are really curious about living more sustainably and taking responsibility for that," she says. And with everything from reusable kitchen paper made from organic cotton to stainless steel straws, it's a one-stop to making the first steps in a less trash-y life.
Lauren's move towards sustainable living started with reading Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, about the use of pesticides on the environment. From there, she began to major in Environmental Studies whilst at university, before beginning her career in all things eco. But, even though we're not all going to make a living out of sustainability, there's a few tweaks we can apply to our days.
"When I was at college, a fellow environmental studies major would buy lunch in a plastic container, in a plastic bag and water in a plastic bottle every day," Lauren says. "Buying a good reuseable bottle and steel container for food are easy changes."
Hello ! It's us - @trashisfortossers and @zerowastedaniel - and we are so excited to tell you about our passion-project pop-up store: @packagefreeshop ! We are bringing our zest for the #zerowaste #lifestyle to you in the form of a one-stop Package Free Shop ! We have more than 30 brands and over 175 products in store (and online) to help you achieve your zero waste goals, whatever they may be ! We will be revealing the store location and grand opening details soon, so stay tuned ! #PackageFreeShop
From there, consider a reuseable coffee cup, tote bags for shopping and buying household items like towels made from organic cotton.
Future-wise, Lauren thinks that something big is changing. "Instead of relying on government for action on climate change, we'll see more people doing something by taking it into their own hands," she says.