Cleenland Helps Cambridge Live Cleaner

Cleenland Helps Cambridge Live Cleaner

Cleenland is Cambridges one stop shop for low waste shopping

  • Posted on: 7 February 2020
  • By: jcreason

Only a couple blocks off Massachusetts Avenue sits Cleenland, a home goods and supplies shop which is promoting sustainability in the heart of Cambridge.

“Cleenland is a low waste personal and homecare shop, we buy in bulk so you don’t have to,” said Sarah Levy, who opened Cleenland in June 2019.
At Cleenland, customers can bring their own containers to refill on shampoo, dish soap, laundry detergent, and other related products from the store’s bulk supply. Cleenland's bulk supply consists of many large tubs filled with sustainable cleaning product, which customers need only enter the store and turn a valve in order to reload on whatever cleaning good they need.
In addition, Cleenland’s shelves are stocked full of plastic free accessories, metal food containers, reusable straws, sustainable soap bars and other low waste personal and home care items.

“I curate different brands that make good products, that use good ingredients, and treat their people well. It’s a collection of a lot of great brands that have been vetted and all collected here for folks,” Levy said.
Many items in the store bring a practical and resourceful approach to sustainability, such as the compostable silk floss which comes in a glass container and for which refill spools can be purchased in store. Levy says the floss is one of her personal favorites because both the floss itself and it's container are a substitute for plastics.

“These kinds of stores are popping up in different places all over,” Levy said.
A similar shop located in British Columbia Canada inspired certain elements of Cleenland, says Levy. Living in Central square and knowing the surrounding neighborhood, Levy thought that others in the area would appreciate a shop based around the theme of low waste.

“Cambridge is relatively environmentally conscious, so I think folks were already thinking about their waste here,” said Levy.
Levy also gave some credit to Harvest Co-op on Massachusetts Avenue for spreading awareness about sustainable lifestyles in the Cambridge community. Cleenland carries some of the same bulk products as the local supermarket, like Dr. Bronner’s organic soap. Levy says those who shop at Harvest Co-op maybe more accustomed to shopping for a low waste lifestyle, like the one Cleenland promotes.

“Just shopping here is an impact,” Levy said.
From simple acts like refilling old containers and purchasing plastic substitutes, Levy feels that the model put forth by Cleenland is different in certain ways than other methods of waste reduction. Where many low waste tricks are about avoiding specific behaviors and operating in the negative, Cleenland gives the consumer a tangible and effective way to make the personal decision of reducing waste.

“It’s about showing industry that this is what people want, part of it is about personal responsibility but it’s more about using our collective voice to put the responsibility back on industry” said Levy.
The high goal of creating a lasting systematic change for sustainability through collective action may not be easy to achieve, but important ground has been made in central Cambridge. While we may have to wait for a fully transitioned low waste industrial infrastructure, Cleenland is a step in the direction of that future. Though Levy does not claim to be an expert in sustainability, she says so far so good for Cleenland’s integration into the Cambridge market and community. “Really the larger goal is to just get folks to think more about the resources that we use and how to use them efficiently,” Levy said.

The one stop shop for low waste personal and home care goods is located at 89A Norfolk Street.