Zero Waste Blogger Lauren Singer Lets Us Look Into Her Drawers and Cabinets

lauren singer
credit: Margaret Badore

Lauren Singer works for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and is the blogger behind TrashIsForTossers.com. She let me take a tour of her Brooklyn apartment, and shared her quest for a totally trash-free life.

credit: Margaret Badore

Food packaging is a major source of trash in most households, so the kitchen is a good place to start. Singer shops for grains, nuts, spices and tea at a grocery store that offers a bulk organic section, and brings her own jars and cloth bags. Singer said she builds her meals around the products she can find, but hasn't had a hard time finding package-free alternatives to important staples. "Ketchup is hard to find package-free," she said. "But most things like that, I can make my own."

credit: Margaret Badore

Singer’s Zero Waste journey started with the goal of getting plastics out of her life. You won’t find much in her apartment anywhere. In college, she was an anti-fracking activist, but realized that her home was full of products produced by the fossil fuel industry. Cutting down on plastic led her to think about all the forms of garbage in her life. She has been documenting her efforts on her blog—as well as her single mason jar of garbage.

credit: Margaret Badore

“I only go grocery shopping when I don’t have food left,” said Singer, which helps her to reduce food waste. She’s also spent some time learning about how to make produce stay fresh the longest. For example, putting your carrots and celery in water will keep them crisp. Singer keeps her compost in the freezer just like me—although she uses a big bowl instead of brown paper bags.

credit: Margaret Badore

Singer makes all her own cleaning supplies, including laundry detergent. One of the things that struck me about Singer’s apartment is its clean, clutter-free feel. “I’ve gotten really into staying organized,” she told me. A waste-free lifestyle has helped her realize what things are really useful, and has made it easier for her to give away the things she doesn’t need.

credit: Margaret Badore

She’s also dived into the world of making her own beauty products from just a few ingredients, like tea tree oil, coconut oil and green clay. She also sometimes buys makeup from companies that make organic products in fully recyclable packaging, like rms beauty. “I think it can be more powerful to support something good, instead of always making my own,” Singer said. She has just one beauty item in a plastic container: a tube of mascara from before she started her Zero Waste endeavor. She decided to use up all her old products as she transitioned to Zero Waste alternatives.

credit: Margaret Badore

It’s clear from reading Trash Is For Tossers that Singer has become an expert at living a Waste Free life, but she’s still continuing to embark on new projects. “I’ve started experimenting with re-growing some of my own vegetables,” she said and wants to expand her growing balcony garden. We look forward to seeing it sprout on her blog!