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Package Free Shop Gets $4.5 Million to Save the World One Biodegradable Vibrator at a Time

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(Photo courtesy of Package Free Shop)

From compostable toothbrushes and reusable cotton produce bags to biodegradable mini vibrators, Williamsburg’s Package Free Shop is on a mission to make the world less trashy.

The zero waste store says it has diverted over 4 million plastic straws, 3 million plastic bags and 1.5 million single-use bottles and cups from sitting in landfills for hundreds of years. Now, the eco company has secured $4.5 million in venture capital funding to scale its operations. 

The sustainable shop is run by CEO Lauren Singer, a 28-year-old entrepreneur and environmental activist who got her start in zero-waste via her personal blog, Trash is for Tossers. The site offers resources for creating less waste, with topics ranging from how to compost in the city to tips on how to be a more conscious consumer. 

After building an environmentally-obsessed following through Trash is for Tossers, Singer opened Package Free as a pop-up shop in 2017, in the Williamsburg location where the flagship is now. Since then, the enterprise has grown its e-commerce capacity, its social media community and has made efforts to bring more awareness to the climate change movement.

(Photo courtesy of Package Free Shop)

Now, Singer says that with the money brought in from the seed funding round, Package Free Shop is on its way to being both the largest aggregator of sustainable products as well as the largest manufacturer and distributor of sustainable products.

Package Free Shop’s products focus on eliminating plastic waste, which Singer says is one of the most harmful forms of landfill trash. “It creates methane which is more detrimental than carbon dioxide in terms of global warming gas,” she said. “In helping to reduce trash, we’re eliminating methane and ultimately helping to remediate climate change.”

The sustainable lifestyle Package Free promotes has been criticized as being an expensive trend that’s actually contrary to the zero waste movement. Products marketed as low-waste necessities can create a cycle of buying more and throwing away the old “unsustainable” items, actually creating more waste. 

With its further development, Package Free Shop is aiming to tackle that criticism by making products even more accessible. Singer says that most sustainably-marketed products are too expensive to entice people to go zero-waste, and that scaling her company will mean lower prices, less packaging and less waste.

The money that’s going into “industrializing” the business will streamline the materials and manufacturing of products under the Package Free brand, which will keep Package Free in line with its aims of being both zero-waste as well as low-cost. The company currently produces its own reusable bags, cups, bottles, beauty and home essentials, but is looking into producing branded products across other categories as well.

Along with manufacturing its own zero-waste goods, Package Free has made a name for itself in the sustainability movement through widespread online campaigns, which offer education around plastic waste and how it harms the environment. Portions of the funding will be used to create more of this content.

The millions raised for the expansion of Package Free shop come from Primary Venture Partners, as well as a number of individual investors, including Neil Parikh, cofounder of Casper; Ryan Engel of Peloton; Brooke Wall of The Wall Group; and Scooter Braun’s TQ Ventures.

Package Free’s team at NYC Climate Strike. (Photo: Jae Thomas)

The news of Package Free Shop’s expansion comes in the wake of Global Climate Week, which the company participated in by literally taking to the streets, protesting at the NYC Climate Strike on September 20th. Package Free also organized a coastal cleanup on Rockaway Beach, where team members and supporters collected almost 4,000 pieces of trash, most of which were cigarette butts. 

Singer wrapped up Climate Week with a talk at the UN for the Lion’s Den meeting (alongside scientist Sylvia Earle and Game of Thrones actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldauto) about the importance of taking action against climate change and waste, as well as the impact of eco-focused companies on the planet.

“People believe all companies are bad and are the problem,” Singer said. “But I believe that capitalism and business doesn’t have to be bad, and Package Free is trying to prove that.”



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