Meet Package Free Shop Founder Lauren Singer | One Small Step | NowThis

Updated : Nov 17, 2019 in Articles

Meet Package Free Shop Founder Lauren Singer | One Small Step | NowThis

Well, Package Free Shop literally exists to solve that problem and today we’re gonna get
a tour with the founder and zero waste queen
herself, Lauren Singer. This is a One Small Step Spotlight. Let’s do it. Lauren Singer has been
zero waste since 2012 and gained viral fame for keeping years of her
trash in a mason jar. In 2017 Lauren saw a need for a store that catered to low waste living and Package Free Shop was born. The company has grown to over 30 people and just raised 4.5 million
dollars in a round of funding. Package Free carries
products that are reusable, recyclable, and compostable alternatives to single use products. I was here when it opened so I’m excited to see what you’ve built and really show our audience
the, like the simple switches that they can make to be more sustainable. Awesome, let’s do it. So this is the shop. We opened in 2017 as a
pop-up for three months, had kind of no idea what was gonna happen, opened day one and luckily there was like a line out the door and it made us realize that
people really were looking for a space and a place that was a community center
around sustainability. It’s really hard for a lot
of people living in a world that doesn’t align with their values. So to come to Package Free and
see the products that we sell and talk to the team that works here about things like
sustainability, zero waste,
menstrual cups, everything, is a really
special thing for people. [Lucy] So I’m curious to know, when you’re picking products to go into the store,
what are the requirements? So we have a very, very
long list of vendor terms. Everything from, does your
product have any packaging or plastic, to what
type of labor do you use in the production of your products. We have a really long list and and really raise and
elevate the benchmark for, not just sustainable products,
but for all products, and hopefully inspire other companies to It is my core belief that
first the burden of waste should always fall on the manufacturer, second on the reseller and then third, and hopefully
never, on the individual. – I would love to just go
through some of the products and how these are alternatives of stuff. – [Lauren] This is an alternative to like any plastic food containers. – Right.
– These are amazing. They’re airtight so you can put everything from soup to things you
put into your freezer, salads for lunch, you can
reheat them in a toaster oven and we all use them in our office. Also one of the most
wasteful types of food that you can buy, or the most
wasteful food that you buy and the most expensive food that you can buy is the
food you throw away. So we have a lot
of solutions for how to store food
and keep it fresh longer. Reusable insulated cups and water bottles, alternative to single use disposable cups, single use of disposable water bottles, which are entirely overpriced, incredibly wasteful petroleum products, We have alternatives to dental floss. We have tongue scrapers, period products, which are really amazing. This saves thousands of dollars. This is our straw bar. We have options that are accessible for lots of different price points, as well as different
types of applications. Stainless steel ice
trays instead of plastic, then we have water filters,
get rid of plastic bags, especially when you’re grocery shopping, but you can use them for
a million different things like food storage in your
house or for packing. – They’re also just so cute. They’re so cute. – And you can, like, embroider them and make them really special. Cleaning is the place where you can have so much plastic packaging and waste, so getting something like
a compostable dish brush, a bar of dish soap. I’m trying really, really
hard not to have anything that would be something
that you wouldn’t need or alternatives to
things that you would buy that are less than ideal
from a sustainability lens. So trying to curate just like the typical
household, but better. – That’s, I actually did not
realize that until you said it. It makes a lot of sense. Everything you are selling I might get at CVS or Duane Reade every
few months and you’re like, “Next time just come
here or order online.” – This is our oral care section. We have everything from
dental floss, toothbrushes, toothpaste, in different
forms as well, because I think
there’s two ways to start reducing
your waste. One it’s like what is
a direct swap for swap for a conventional
product, so it’s not like, okay I’m gonna, you know, use my regular, whatever brand toothpaste
and then go and use a stick. It comes in a metal recyclable tube, but then we also have a tooth powder. So it’s like if you want
to try the next phase of reducing waste using less packaging, we have different stuff. So it’s not like you have to
change the way you consume or the types of products you consume, but we’re helping you get there in a more, I guess in a simpler way, in
a lower hanging fruit way. – One small step. – One small step. Deodorant, body, I love natural deodorant. Most of the time I’ll
use either baking soda or one of these vegan deodorant sticks and they’re totally compostable. – [Lucy] Cool. – I also make my own deodorant as well. So there’s so many different ways. We really want to provide a full circle, like 360 view of how you can
start reducing your waste. And you know, right now when we started, there were around 40 vendors
that we were working with. – [Lucy] Right. But now the sustainability
consumer product landscape is growing and evolving so much to now we’re having the
ability to give people more choice in the products
that they use, you know? – [Lucy] Right. – That’s why when you walk into CVS there’s like a thousand
different types of deodorant, because everybody’s body is different. – Got it. – [Lauren] This is our razor
section and shaving so we have, again, way more attractive
than your plastic razor. – It’s so pretty. It reminds me of my grandfather. It’s just like, I never
saw my grandfather’s razor but I feel like it
would look like this. Why is stainless steel better than like the plastic
we’re getting at the store? – Well, most stainless steel
contains recycled material, which is amazing. It doesn’t have a petroleum origin story. And so these are totally recyclable. Stainless steel is high value so there’s an incredibly large likelihood that it’ll get recycled. And then instead of buying
those super expensive plastic heads.
– That are like $15. – They’re just so expensive,
I don’t even know. These are so cheap and it’s just blades and you replace them and
again you can recycle them. They’re just made from stainless steel and then a little teeny
cardboard box and some paper. And then getting into the hair care. Haircare is super important for me. We have this that comes in a container that you can actually send
back to the manufacturer and it will be refilled. And then if you want to
take it a step further, we have shampoo and conditioner bars that don’t have any packaging at all. – [Lucy] Love it. You’re cutting out the
packaging all together. – And they smell so good and
they work, I think better. Something that I’m most
focused on right now, we just raised a big fund raising round and the whole reason for that was because a lot of people
would walk into the store and not necessarily
take the long-term value of buying a product into consideration, so they’d be like, “Oh, this
water bottle is, you know, “10 times what buying a
plastic water bottle would be.” But if used over time, you would save exponentially more money. And so the conversation of
accessibility came into play and I’m a huge believer that
like no matter who you are, where you come from, products that are safe for our homes and our bodies and the environment. And one of the reasons
that that’s happened is because sustainable
consumer products are so new and manufactured at such small scales, so the price per unit is much higher than something like a Proctor and Gamble or Unilever product, where they make, you know, 100,000 a second. Our goal now is to start to
bring products into the market, manufacture products at economies of scale that make them price point competitive with the products that you would be buying in your typical pharmacy,
because my goal, really, and our goal at Package Free is to – So are you just now
planning all that expansion? – We’re growing.
– 2020 baby! I just love that you guys
are thinking about the path, the entire lifecycle of a product, which is so different than the way that we’re trying to think. It’s like, I’m going
for the cheapest thing, never thinking about anything again and so it’s really like a
new way of doing business that I think is really
exciting and inspiring. I want our viewers to know, what would be the one small step that you would suggest that they take? – Every person is different. Every lifestyle where
you live is different. So there’s not like one
size fits all solution to reducing your waste. I always suggest that people
look in their garbage can, see what they’re already throwing away an see if there’s one little thing that they can start
finding an alternative for. Incorporate it into your routine and then move on to the next thing. Also looking at the
cadence of how you use, like your bath and beauty
and cleaning products. If you have one that
you’re about to run out of, instead of buying a new one, is there a more sustainable alternative or can you make it yourself. So really using the cadence
that you’re using products dictate what comes next. – Lauren, you’re always
an inspiration to me. Everyone check out
Package Free Shop. Rose, what’s your
one small step?


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