Lauren Singer’s Zero Waste Guide to New York City
‘I would love to say that this guide is a comprehensive NYC guide, but I’m sticking to where I live, Brooklyn, which in my humble opinion is where it’s at! But I’ll sprinkle in a few Manhattan favourites, for good measure.’ Zero waste enthusiast, Lauren Singer is the CEO of online sustainable retail platform, Package Free Shop. Through her blog, Trash Is For Tossers and her social media following, Lauren inspires her readers to live a more zero waste lifestyle just like she does. Read on to learn about her favourite eco spots in New York.
Where to eat
I have to start with Food as it is my biggest passion after sustainability and my dog Rose. I like to go to restaurants that have ethical standards that align with my values of sustainability. This means organic and locally sourced ingredients, aspirations for low food waste, and composting. I’ll list them in no specific order.
There are few, okay, like zero, restaurants that I have been to that have been flawless every time except for this one. To this day, one of my favorite eating experiences was in Korea, and this small plates Korean restaurant never lets me down. It is one of the only reasons I will ever go into Manhattan. I have been here about a dozen times and whether it is my chef friends or best friends, everyone always loves it. I spent New Years Eve here and could not have been happier!
My friend Silvia Barban, of Top Chef Fame, makes some effing GREAT pasta. Her entire restaurant feels like the best hug from your grandmother. Everything about her restaurant is rooted in love and you can always feel it. After your meal, you can pick up fresh pasta (and even put it in your own container) and some of her favorite ingredients from Italy. She also hosts monthly pasta making classes which has been one of my favorite NYC experiences and romantic dates to date.
I once read that the owner said, and I’m paraphrasing, she would never offer artificial sweeteners because she wouldn’t offer her customers something she would never consumer herself. I thought that was so badass, such a beautiful stance for an owner, and that amongst other things, has made me so happy to support this tiny West Village French restaurant for almost 8 years now. Their brunch is next level, but expect lines.
It’s just really good pizza made in a massive oven in an industrial but still incredibly romantic and cozy feeling space, conveniently a block from my office. Expect lines.
This one is for the vegans. It is kick ass Ethiopian food, I suggest the Feast for 2. It’s only $37, so super affordable, and so delicious!
Where to shop
Package Free Shop
This is my company! We sell lifestyle products that help you reduce waste. Think everything from stainless steel straws and reusable produce bags to refillable beauty products and menstrual cups and condoms. It’s like an sustainability/eco-lover’s dream. Plus, our team is incredibly knowledgeable about all things waste and are happy to talk trash with you all day long. We also have boxes where you can drop your travel sized containers and stock up on Package Free travel-sized beauty products! After shopping, you can walk over to Devocion, a great coffee shop, where they always let you use your own cup.
I buy all of my clothing here. It’s the best secondhand store. Don’t expect to be here for less than an hour. Pee first, eat first. You’re welcome.
My neighbor and friend from high school, Ester, recently opened this amazing shop. Ester herself is an incredible artist and ceramicist and has combined her love of art with her amazing talent for discovering functional and cool home goods and accessories. If you want to find something unique and interesting, I recommend stopping here.
What to do
I am pretty much always working, but if I’m not, I’m either eating or at one of these places…
If you need somewhere to get lost for a few hours.
McCarren Park Farmer’s Market
I recommend stopping by any of the farmers markets. It’s one of my favorite things to do while in a new city. PS if you want to find a place to compost while traveling, there are compost drop offs here.
If you’re seeking out independent film, this is where you should go. You might even get to meet a director as they often have special guests.
My favourite yoga studio.