Before there was Package Free, there was Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, “the girl with the jar” (She initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she’s created in one mason jar).
In 2012, while an Environmental Studies student at NYU, Lauren realized that it should be easy to make decisions that positively impact the environment and launched her blog, Trash is for Tossers, to document her journey to reduce her waste to zero through simple swaps and DIY’s, and to show that reducing your individual waste can be simple, cost effective, and fun!
In 2014, while working as Sustainability Manager at the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, Lauren received feedback from her Trash is for Tossers community that people wanted products as simple and safe as her DIY ones, but they didn’t have the time to make them themselves. Lauren’s belief that everyone deserves access to safe and effective products is what drove her to found her first business, The Simply Co., a 3-ingredient Organic, vegan laundry detergent powder that is safe for our homes, our bodies, and the environment. The Simply Co. first launched in 2014 and is now sold at Package Free.
In 2015, Lauren gave a TED talk that brought the concept of Zero Waste to millions. This helped to connect her with other sustainability enthusiasts and people on missions to solve environmental problems through starting companies and making products.
After connecting and becoming friends with these brands, Lauren realized that there was not a united space for makers of sustainable products that helped to reduce waste, and that growing small, bootstrapped sustainable brands without venture capital or large budgets for marketing was extremely difficult.
And that’s how we got here.
On April 22, 2017, initially funded by the brands that we sold, Package Free was born as a 3-month popup shop at 137 Grand Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with a goal of making the world less trashy, one sustainable swap at a time. Spoiler alert: the pop up never closed.
In 2019, we took on venture partners to grow Package Free in order to create sustainable products at economies of scale that make them accessible to the masses.
From day one we have looked to prove that it’s possible to build businesses based off of your values, to empower positive change through consumer demand, to challenge the status quo and come out on top, and to grow a business while meeting environmental and social needs.
As a company we are young, and there's a long way to go and a lot of work ahead of us before we realize a more sustainable and equitable future, but we’re proud of what we’ve already accomplished. Since launching, we’ve built an e-commerce site, launched two retail stores, and diverted hundreds of millions of pieces of trash from landfills, and we’re just getting started.
Thank you to each and every single member of our community, old and new, for making the world less trashy with us since 2017!