Small Business Spotlight: Cleenland

Hello, everyone! Most of us are on week 2-ish of being isolated. I hope everyone is still healthy and sane.

Today, I wanted to start something I have been mulling over since before I launched Trees & Honeybees- Small Business Spotlight. I think helping to support small businesses is so important. I truly believe we vote with our dollars and if we continue to support small businesses, especially ones that are making efforts to promote sustainability and remain eco-friendly, people will take notice.

As I mentioned, this was an idea I had been toying with since before the blog went live and I had been dragging my feet because I was hoping to get in touch with a few more businesses before rolling it out. Then, the Coronavirus hit. Now, more then ever, it’s so important to help out small businesses. Amazon doesn’t need more of your money- Jeff Bezos is worth over 113 BILLION dollars. Walmart doesn’t need more of your money- the Walton family is worth 191 BILLION dollars. Starbucks comparatively is only worth roughly 22 billion dollars. I’m thinking maybe they might not need your money, either, though.

BUT, small business owners sure could! So, I’m hoping to highlight different small businesses once a week in the New England area. I bounce between Northeastern, Connecticut and Boston, Massachusetts so I will be covering stores in both those areas. Please feel free to send me a small business you know and love, though, and I will be more then happy to try them out and feature them.

First up, I’m super excited to feature Cleenland, located in Cambridge, MA. Cleenland describes itself as “your one-stop shop for low-waste, refillable personal and home care supplies.” Their bulk, refillable items include personal care products like shampoo, conditioner and body lotion (I’m a fan of the unscented one!), as well as home products like laundry detergent, castile soap and all-purpose cleaner. You are more than welcome to bring your own containers for the bulk products. Sarah, the owner, is very friendly and will help you get the Tare weight if you need it. They also have bottles there for purchase if you don’t have anything around your place.

If you don’t love the idea of bulk items or it seems daunting, Cleenland also has low-waste, responsibly packaged items such as shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, dry shampoo and kitchen items like Stasher bags or beeswax food wrap.

Sarah was gracious enough to answer a few questions about her business for me. Check out the interview below:

Tell us a little about yourself and your low-waste journey. How did you get started? 

I was raised pretty frugal so we weren’t big on wasting things generally. In college, I learned more about climate change and just generally became much more aware of how our actions impact the environment — including waste. From there, I just started doing one thing at a time. 

Do you have any tips for people that are just starting a low-waste lifestyle? 

Do one thing at a time. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and stop before you start. Look through your weekly trash and recycling and see what the biggest contributors are, then try to reduce those. Also — compost! It’s easy, not too expensive depending on where you live, and has a HUGE impact, both from a trash volume reduction standpoint and environmentally. 

Cleenland is such a great space! You describe it as a “Labor of Love” on your website. How did this awesome store come to be? What’s it’s story?

I read about this type of shop opening in different parts of the country and world and it just seemed like an obviously great idea. Greater Boston didn’t have one so I decided to open it myself.

You have so many great products at Cleenland for all areas of the home. What are your top 3 favorite products that you sell?

Mmm top three is hard. I love our floss, Dental Lace, because both the product and the packaging are an improvement on the status quo product — the floss is compostable silk and the container is a refillable glass vial. Another of my favorites is our beeswax lip balm, Bee Balm, packaged in a compostable tube. It’s made locally in Medford with beeswax from Beverly and Bee Balm is another woman-owned company. Plus the product is incredible — only thing to break my years-long Burt’s Bees addiction. Another top selection is our dish soap bar. It challenges folks to think about why things are the way they are and believe that maybe they don’t have to be how they’ve always been done. Why can’t dish soap be in bar format? It has fewer ingredients because there is no water requiring use of preservatives, it’s more efficient to ship because there is no water being transported, and no bottle — the bars come stacked in a cardboard box.

Thank you so much for your time, Sarah!!

Like everyone else, Cleenland’s hours have been impacted by the Coronavirus. Check out their website or Instagram for their most current hours. Their website currently says the only thing they are out of is toilet paper so if you need to restock on soap or lotion because of how many times you are washing your hands, please go check them out!

And if you have a small business in the New England area you would like me to feature, leave me a comment and I will see what I can do about prompting them!

Stay safe, everyone!


(It should be noted this post isn’t sponsored. I’m just a big fan of Cleenland and wanted get the word out about their awesomeness.)

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