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Is "going green" worth the extra cash?

Nicole Goodkind
Nicole Goodkind

Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company recently raised $70 million and announced that it was readying for a forthcoming IPO. Green cleaning company Seventh Generation received $30 million in capital last year. Green companies have been raking in the big bucks for years, in 2006 Colgate purchased Tom’s of Maine for $100 million and in 2008 Clorox purchased Burt’s Bees for $913 million. As Americans focus more on going green, the eco-friendly household product industry is taking off.

Now 23 years old, Lauren Singer was inspired by her college professor and Seventh Generation CEO Jeffrey Hollender who told her to live her values. She began living a zero-waste lifestyle and making everyday products herself, organically and simply. When she realized her products worked just as well if not better than store-bought alternatives she decided to sell them, and created Simply Co. Simply Co.’s first product is a laundry detergent that uses only three ingredients: baking soda, washing soda and castile soap.

Singer has found a growing audience of customers who were tired of traditional, chemical-filled detergents and were looking for an alternative.

The regulation of chemicals entering the marketplace hasn’t been updated by the U.S. government since 1976 and 80% of the ingredients in personal care products have never been tested for safety—laundry detergent companies aren’t even required to list specific ingredients on their labels.

“There are 85,000 industrial chemicals out there,” says Singer. “They’re carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting…there’s a lot of nasty stuff out there that are in conventional products that we use everyday.”

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Singer created a Kickstarter to get her project off the ground and exceeded her goal within 48 hours; she ended up raising four times the amount of money she asked for.

“I think people are ready for this, they’re ready for toxic free cleaning products,” says Singer. “No one wants to be made sick without knowing why. My blog also had something to do with the popularity [of Simply Co.] and the consistency that I had: I live a zero-waste life, make non-toxic products and it makes sense that I would make them for other people to use as well.”

Still, organic alternative solutions to everyday household items like detergent and toothpaste are pricey. Singer’s detergent starts at $19 for 50 loads-worth. Singer’s alternative? Make it yourself. “It’s really easy. It’s just three ingredients. I would love if everybody could make their own cleaning products but unfortunately not everyone has time for that so I like to see my product as the next best thing.”

Singer shared her toothpaste recipe with us, listed below:

'Trash is for Tossers' Toothpaste

This toothpaste will feel a little different from conventional toothpaste. It does not foam up, is a little salty, and is more textured than conventional toothpaste that comes in a tube. It takes a few tries to get used to it, but will leave your mouth feeling very fresh.

Ingredients:

Organic Coconut Oil (2 Tbsp)

Baking Soda (1 Tbsp)

Organic Peppermint Essential Oil (20 drops) or Organic Cinnamon Essential Oil (15 drops)

Directions: 

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl or jar. To use, apply paste to your toothbrush using a spoon and brush as you regularly would. 

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