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Interview

Meet Lauren Singer Sustainability, The Simply Co., & Saving the Earth

Join BWB as we celebrate Lauren Singer– environmental blogger, founder of the vegan laundry-detergent company The Simply Co., and entrepreneur of a package-free store based in Brooklyn.

When Lauren Singer’s independent research revealed the thousands of harmful industrial chemicals found in cleaning products across the country, she knew had to do something– even if it meant quitting her job as Sustainability Manager for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. Now, just twenty seven years old, Lauren Singer maintains an environmental blog, a vegan laundry detergent company called The Simply Co., and a package-free store based in Brooklyn.

In addition to her own waste-free commitment to the planet, Singer developed The Simply Co. in order to produce toxin-free and natural cleaning products that would encourage consumers to join her in a more sustainable lifestyle. After several years of concocting everyday products in her Brooklyn home, she created an all-natural and vegan laundry detergent to provide an alternative to the harmful brands taking up space at popular supermarket chains. Now you can buy her laundry detergent– in addition to organic cotton sheets, biodegradable bandages, and plantable colored pencils– at Package Free on Grand Street in Brooklyn! You can even order items online, and your package will get shipped straight to your home, plastic-free and environmentally happy.

Join BWB as we celebrate Lauren Singer with an interview we conducted with her last year, and hopefully find some more sustainability tips and inspiration we missed out on before!

Why did you decide to major in Environmental Studies?

When I first went to college, I was actually studying journalism. When I read Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, I realized how much human beings could negatively affect the natural environment, harming themselves and other species as well. Wanting to do something about it, I signed up for environmental science electives. When I started to get terrible grades in journalism and straight As in my environmental science electives, I knew what path to take. I realized that the environment is what I am most passionate about, so that’s what I decided to study.

How did you create the right formula for your laundry detergent?

It consisted of a bunch of different trial and error processes. I tried a number of things and mixed around ingredients until, eventually, I fell upon one that worked for me.

We don’t need a million different ingredients to clean our clothes.

Is your product good for someone with sensitive skin?

Yes, if you can use bar soap and you are not adverse to salt, you can use it. It is basically just baking soda and organic vegan castile soap. I have had people with all kinds of skin conditions use it and say that it worked better than anything they had ever used. We don’t need a million different ingredients to clean our clothes.

Would you want to expand The Simply Co. to be a lifestyle eco brand?

Who knows? I’m going to take it one step at a time.

lauren-singer

What are your favorite eco-friendly brands?

I love Life Without Plastic because they sell tons of amazing plastic free alternatives. I love Brush with Bamboo, Lunette Cup and Glad Rags. Klean Kanteen makes some good products, although they source a lot of their steel virgin and they don’t use a lot of recycled content, which I don’t understand. They’re not my favorite, but I do use their products sometimes.

What are your favorite beauty brands?

I use the shampoo bar from Meow Meow Tweet. Everything else I just make myself.

What about makeup brands?

I was using RMS for a while and I still use some their products for my lips. I also recently learned that coconut oil was good for the face, but I think it might have been causing me to break out, so I moved away from that.

Any favorite online stores to buy your favorite brands?

I adore Life Without Plastic, but also love to support my local Brooklyn shops and businesses. I think it is really important to support my community.

What’s your favorite go to local store?

De Penair in Brooklyn (Williamsburg) and they actually sell The Simply Co. in bulk. I agreed to sell my product if I did it package-free, and I loved that. They are a store I really believe in; I love their ethics. They also have the best sandwiches.

What do you do during your daily routine to waste less?

My daily routine is really the same now as it was before, but I make different choices. I wake up and brush my teeth with my own toothpaste, using a bamboo toothbrush instead of a plastic packaged one. I wash my face with organic bar soap, and I replaced a toxic chemical latent facial cleanser and moisturize with ones that I made myself. I still do all the same things; I just use different products.

I started by learning how to make my own toothpaste and it felt amazing. After that, I learned to use a reusable bag everyday and incorporate that into my routine. Then I learned how to shop at the farmer’s market and compost. It was all a gradual process.

What is your advice to people wanting to be a part of the ‘zero waste lifestyle?’

Start small, with something that sounds exciting and easy for you. Once you accomplish that one thing, choose another. I think it is all about baby steps and doing things that are really simple. If we overwhelm ourselves with a bunch of changes all at once, we might quit. I started by learning how to make my own toothpaste and it felt amazing. After that, I learned to use a reusable bag everyday and incorporate that into my routine. Then I learned how to shop at the farmer’s market and compost. It was all a gradual process.

Everyone deserves a product that is safe, effective, pure and minimalistic.

What is next for The Simply Co.?

We are hoping to expand to more cleaning products, and in bulk. I want The Simply Co. to be sold everywhere, package-free – that is my dream. I believe packaging is incredibly wasteful. When people can fill up their own containers, it is less expensive. I eventually want everybody around the world to have access to a product like mine. Everyone deserves a product that is safe, effective, pure and minimalistic. One day, I hope that everyone will be able to make his or her own products. I care more about that than making my company the next best thing.

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