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Going Zero-Waste Is a Step-by-Step Process

Photo: Courtesy of Ysabella Langdon

Blogger, entrepreneur, and environmental activist Lauren Singer answers questions about how she first went zero-waste and how you can get started, too

What inspired you to start Trash is for Tossers?

Trash is for Tossers is now almost 10 years old which is very crazy. It started really as a way for me document my personal journey to reduce my waste, as a way to hold myself accountable to my impact on the planet.

So to back up a little bit, I was an environmental studies major and have always been really passionate about the environment. But at the same time, I had never really taken the opportunity to ask myself, outside of grassroots activism what is my impact on the planet every day? And it really hit me one day when I realized that I’ve been fighting against the oil and gas industry for years, but I was actively consuming plastic on a regular basis, every single day, dozens of times per day, that there was just such extreme hypocrisy in that. So really that was my catalyst for making the decision to reassess the way that I was living my day-to-day life from a consumption perspective. 

I realized really quickly that I had to start doing things like making my own products, finding alternatives to forms of waste in plastic packaging that I didn’t really think of or know about before, and there was so much research that went into shifting my day-to-day consumption habits. Trash is for Tossers was really a way for me to document that journey and also to make the resources available for people who were also, like me, interested in reducing their waste but didn’t necessarily know the steps to take or how to hold themselves accountable to living more sustainably. 

How have you seen the world turn toward a more sustainable future in the past few years?

Oh my gosh it’s incredible! I mean when I was studying in college, the environmental studies program was so small you could count everybody in it on your fingers and toes. 

From starting Trash is for Tossers and really building out zero-waste, I’ve seen it grow so exponentially where there are so many people that I’ve never communicated with that have their own platforms for sustainability, that are growing a sustainability movement within their dedicated corners of TikTok and Instagram. There are more consumer companies focused on sustainability now than ever before. It’s still a small contingency however it’s rapidly growing and that’s incredibly promising for the for the future of our planet. 

What advice do you have for people trying to follow your lead and live a zero-waste lifestyle? 

I think having your eye on the prize, like, ‘Why am I doing this in the first place? Why is this important to me?’ is a really great first step to take. And then from there, Trash is for Tossers really serves as a really great resource to find one thing that is attractive to you. 

It makes an impact even if it’s just one little thing. Even decreasing your overall waste by 10% can remove hundreds of pounds of trash from landfills per year and that’s major. Every positive step is positive when it comes to mitigating climate change and having a more sustainable impact on the planet, so it really is about just trying one thing and if it doesn’t work try something else. Just doing whatever little thing you can. It doesn’t have to take any time out of your day-to-day life, it doesn’t have to cost you any money, it doesn’t have to be an inconvenience. Really what I found through doing this for 10 years it’s been like exactly the opposite. It’s been super convenient, it’s added a lot of time and value to my life, it’s saved me tons of money, and ultimately  created a foundation for a career in a business package-free that I that I built. 

What challenges have you faced while leading the Simply company and package-free shop as well as an entirely sustainable packaging brand?

It’s been incredibly easy to create and find sustainable solutions for consumer-packaged products. I think it’s really the default to go from plastic to go for quote unquote “unsustainable class packaging,” but when you do have this small foundation of education around materials around recycling infrastructure,  it makes a huge difference in the choices that people make when creating a product from the ground up. 

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