Let’s talk trash. When it comes to sustainability, Lauren Singer is the real deal. Not only is she a passionate influencer who talks the talk and walks the walk when it comes to her everyday zero waste principles, but she’s also personable, witty, relatable, and super cool. Known for her Trash is For Tossers blog and thriving Package Free lifestyle shop, Singer is leading by example with a single 16 oz. mason jar containing the only trash she’s collected in eight years (yes, you read that correctly) and counting. With recent funds of $4.5 million from companies such as Primary Venture Partners and Scooter Braun’s TQ Ventures, Singer is focused on becoming the largest manufacturer of sustainable products in the world.
Singer speaks enthusiastically about the series of events that led to the launch of her Brooklyn storefront, e-commerce site, and growing brand. “I just became obsessed with learning about the human traces in all the bits and pieces that make the world what it is,” she says. “I got really involved in activism and learned that the surest way to get someone to not listen to you is to tell them the way that they are living is wrong.” Lauren’s a-ha moment came when she noticed a college classmate’s heavily plastic-wrapped lunches. “I judged her so harshly for being so effectively the antithesis of what an Environmental Studies student should be, but I went home and realized that everything in my apartment was plastic. I needed to make a change,” Singer admits.
By going zero waste, “you eat better because you’re not eating packaged, processed crap. You save money because packaging is expensive and buying new things is so much more expensive than getting reused things. Ultimately, you feel better,” Singer explains. However, it is not accomplished overnight. “I like to say that every positive step is positive. Even doing one thing to reduce your waste has an impact and every little win should be celebrated. For me, I started with getting a bamboo toothbrush and making my own toothpaste. But, I suggest that people look inside their trash can to see what they’re throwing away and go from there,” she says.
When it comes to meals, Singer prepares rice or pasta as well as fresh fruit and vegetables from the farmer’s market. “If I eat meat, I like to support people who raise meat that isn’t through factory farming.” You’ll find her every Saturday in Williamsburg dropping off compost and buying produce at the McCarren Park farmer’s market.
Sprinkled with fashionably simple looks, Singer’s Instagram feed is fun to scroll through. Spoiler alert: everything she wears is either vintage or consignment finds from favorites such as Beacon’s Closet and or Poshmark. “I think it just depends on the day and the vibe,” she says about her personal style. “I think that I’ve always been a chameleon, so I like to try out everything and I think, depending on if my hair is curly or straight, I can kind of go in any direction, which is fun.”
As far as Singer’s skincare and beauty routine goes, she chooses products based on their organic ingredients. For her skin, she loves the Tea Tree Charcoal Soap and Juniper Carrot Seed Face Oil from Package Free. “I’m usually testing a product or two because everything we sell I approve, so I’m usually trying new face oils,” she says. However, sustainable cosmetics can be tricky. “Makeup is the one area that is not perfect at all, but right now I’m using refillable Alima Pure concealer and Kjaer Weis blush. Alima Pure does come packaged in plastic, which isn’t ideal, but it has the best ingredients and doesn’t make me break out,” adds Lauren.
Out of curiosity, I ask Singer which waste-free product she can’t live without. She says with a giggle, “My menstrual cup. They’re amazing. I want every menstruating person to have one.”