25-year-old Lauren Singer decided to go plastic-free and embrace the no-waste lifestyle a few years ago. Now, she can fit four years’ worth of trash into one mason jar.
It all started when Singer was an Environmental Studies major at New York University. One night after class she went home, opened her refrigerator, and realised almost everything inside was packaged in plastic. She noticed the same thing when she looked at all the products in her bathroom.
“So one of the first things I did was make toothpaste, because I ran out of my toothpaste and found a recipe online and I went for it,” Singer told INSIDER. “And I realised, whoa, this is really easy.”
Then she learned how to “cook” her own deodorant and and make body butter, all in an effort to reduce the amount of plastic she throws away.
Singer says getting to a point where she could fit four years’ worth of trash into a single mason jar wasn’t easy. It took a while for her to get used to all the changes.
“People tell me all the time, they’re like, ‘I’m going to go zero waste this week.’ And I’m like, ‘Well, no you’re not, because zero waste is a process,'” Singer said. “It took me months to set up the infrastructure that I need to not produce any garbage.”
Her hard work and dedication paid off — and has even materialised into a new career. After college, Singer worked as the sustainability manager for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. She ended up quitting that job and launching her own business selling toxin-free laundry detergent. She started The Simply Co. in 2014.
Singer says the zero-waste lifestyle may not be for everyone, but we can all do our part in reducing the amount of trash sent to landfills each day.
Singer has three “baby steps” to start the process of reducing waste:
- Look inside your trash can to see what you are throwing away on a regular basis.
- Start with simple, one-time changes that can have a big impact. For example, exchanging disposable plastic water bottles for a reusable bottle.
- Start making your own products. Singer says if you think of it like cooking, it won’t seem so difficult.
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