Entrepreneur & Environmental Activist
Lauren, who has been living a zero waste lifestyle since 2012, first went viral for fitting a year’s worth of all of the waste she’d created in one 16 oz mason jar. Nicknamed by her community as the “the girl with the trash jar,” Lauren went on to give a Ted Talk that brought the concept of low-waste living to millions. In 2017, she began chronicling her adventures in sustainable living on the online editorial platform Trash is for Tossers, which teaches readers tips on everything from DIY toothpaste to zero-waste hair care.
Now, she’s the Founder of Package Free — which provides the most sustainable versions of products that consumers use daily, from loofahs to pencils to cat litter — and Founder of The Simply Co. — which sells a 3-ingredient organic, vegan laundry detergent. Singer has been named a Business Insider “woman to watch,” one of InStyle’s “50 badass women changing the world,” and a Well+Good “2020 changemaker.”
How does having a dog fit in with your waste-free lifestyle?
Avoiding waste with Rose turned out to be pretty easy. She was potty-trained within a week, but I learned afterward that there are washable pee pads sold on Etsy. I would have gotten those if I’d had a little bit more time to prepare to be totally waste-free with her. Other than that, I make her food for her every Sunday, and we keep her treats in Stasher bags. And then she just eats whatever my boyfriend and I don’t.
Does Package Free have any low-waste pet products she can use?
Yeah, we sell the dog poop pickup bags that I use with her, and we have these amazing stainless steel containers that I store her food in. We also have recycled rubber toys and some woven rope toys that have been selling out so quickly! There are a lot of good options.
What are some of the ways that reducing waste has improved your life?
At a high level, it’s pushed me to pursue a career around my values, which is really amazing. It’s also empowered me to save a ton of money — whether it’s because I’m not buying new clothing, or I’m just consuming less overall. Using cleaner products has also really helped me understand what I’m putting in and on my body, which gives me peace of mind that I’m not being subjected to toxic chemicals. Overall, it’s just made me a little bit more thoughtful in everything that I do.
Beyond shopping for package-free pet products, what other tips do you have for people looking to go lower-waste?
My biggest suggestion is always to look inside your trash can. That way, you understand what your waste is, and what it is you’re throwing away, first. Over 20 percent of our household trash is usually food, so I would say that if you have a composting program close to you or easily available, using that is a great place to start and it makes a huge dent.
Then, think about easy swaps. Are there any lower-waste alternatives to the personal care products, household products, or cleaning products you use? You can start with a product you’re able to run out of and make the switch. I really suggest making changes to products that aren’t super important to you because reducing your waste shouldn’t be something that makes your life any less great. It’s about little changes that have a positive impact on you and the planet over time.
You said adopting Rose was the best decision you ever made. Why is that?
There’s nothing better than waking up to infinite love every morning. She is the sweetest and most pure, kind, loyal creature. Being able to reciprocate love and take care of something that is so giving and sweet is just the most fulfilling thing. And then also knowing where she came from and all the animals out there living on the streets...It’s just an honor to be able to offer her something a little bit better.
Articles featuring Lauren Singer
The founder of Package Free says there’s a low-waste alternative to every pet product sitting in your trash right now.
“I find it very fitting that the dog I would have was found in the trash. It’s the only trash that I like, I guess!”