A MOMENT WITH TRASH IS FOR TOSSERS' LAUREN SINGER
TEXT: LOGAN VERLAQUE IMAGES VIA LAUREN SINGER
The Founder and CEO of Package Free and Trash is For Tossers talks to us about reducing your daily waste.
Lauren Singer is somewhat like wonder woman in the world of wasting-less. After majoring in Environmental Studies at NYU, the 20-something garnered attention for being able to fit the trash she had accumulated over the past 8 years into one 16 oz. mason jar. She is now the CEO and Founder of both Trash is for Tossers, an online platform dedicated to informing others on how living a zero waste lifestyle can be both fun and effective, as well as Package Free, a shop that offers goods to help you reduce your daily waste.
On what it means to live a zero waste lifestyle
Living a zero waste lifestyle means different things to different people. As someone who has popularized the movement, I would describe a zero waste lifestyle as being an individual who is committed to not sending any trash to landfills. My first step is to always compost and then second is to recycle. Recycling is really the last resort because not everything that goes to recycling actually gets recycled.
On how to start reducing your waste
There isn’t necessarily the same first step for everybody as everyone’s lifestyle is different, but the best way is to start is with a few easy things that don’t cost money or require extra energy. These are things like saying “No” – saying no to plastic bags, silverware or straws in your drink at a bar or a restaurant. Saying “No” is easy, free and has a positive impact.
On how to balance one’s love of fashion and beauty with being eco-conscious
When I started living this lifestyle, I thought I needed a bunch of products to look and feel my best, but that is something that consumer culture propagates. What is most radiating is how I feel, not how many products I have used and I discovered that you don’t need a million products to feel your best. Though simplifying my skincare routine, my skin and hair are better than ever. This doesn’t mean sacrificing anything, it is just about making different choices about what and how much of each product I am using.
On how living a zero-waste life has, well, changed her life
Yes! I started this eight years ago as a way to live my day to day life in alignment with what I care about. I wanted to ensure that each purchase I made led to a more sustainable lifestyle. Now, I have continued doing this because of all the external benefits. I don’t eat packaged or processed food and only eat fresh food. This is less expensive because with packaged food, you pay a premium for packaging. Additionally, processed food doesn’t keep you full for as long as fresh, whole foods do. I have also saved so much money on clothing. Buying a new pair of jeans could be $180, but for that same amount, I go to a secondhand store and buy a complete fall wardrobe. I still have access to the same breadth of clothing, especially with secondhand online shops such as Poshmark, ThreadUp and The Real Real. There are so many options to have clothes that feel new and fashion forward.
On Where the biggest changes can be made when it comes to swapping certain products for less wasteful alternatives
I’m proud of Package Free’s measurable impact. We have saved millions of pieces of trash just through purchases our customers have made that would have otherwise gone to the landfill. The changes can be simple but have a very positive impact such as a menstrual cup. The average menstruating individual can use thousands of plastic products. One of the largest sources of ocean plastic pollution is actually period products. By using something like a menstrual cup, we 1) take so much plastic out of landfills and oceans and 2) save so much money! One menstrual cup is a $40 purchase that can last 10 years, which can save thousands on single use plastic products.
On her future goals in the world of sustainable living
I started Trash is for Tossers for myself as a way to align my lifestyle with my personal values and make it easy for people who, like me, wanted to live zero waste, but didn’t know where to start. Then I started The Simply Co. to make it easier for people to have access to products that are safe for the home and body. Package Free was started to make it even easier for people to have access to products that help you live a zero waste and a sustainable lifestyle. My goal in life is large scale, positive environmental change. With Package Free, I want to make every single person to have access to products that are safe for our homes, bodies, and environment. My goal is to make it as easy to buy a zero waste product as it is to buy a Unilever or P&G product.