Cleenland was started by owner Sarah as an opportunity to help people make imperfect, but sustainable change in their shopping habits. Sans judgement and full of plenty of personality, Cleenland is part refillery and part hangout (at least during Pandemic-free times). Check out our interview below for a eco-friendly wrapping paper hack AND article about why recycling might not be what you think it is.
What first got you started with the sustainability/eco-consciousness movement?
When I learned about climate change in college, I felt like nothing else really matters if we don’t have a livable planet. I decided to work specifically in the low-waste movement because it’s a really tangible flashpoint for folks to get motivated around the environment and climate. It can feel really overwhelming to think about the scale of the challenges we face but harnessing our individual choices to demand system change will make a difference.
What is your favorite sustainable swap for the holidays?
I’m big on not giving gifts as my family and friends can attest haha. I usually go for a homemade treat, heartfelt card, book, or donation to a cause the person cares about. If I do need holiday gift wrapping, I find foreign language newspapers really cool looking, especially in languages with different characters like Greek or Chinese. Even if it’s bad news, the recipient won’t know lol. For holiday meal prep (this year, for me and my partner in our sweatpants woo!), I use my beeswax wraps so much. Rolling up cookie dough logs to set in the fridge, covering dishes of leftovers, storing that half a lemon — they do it all!
What is one documentary, article, book, or podcast that you'd recommend to someone looking to live more sustainably?
I recommend this article about how the plastics industry has been the major force behind the recycling movement as a way to essentially transfer responsibility for waste from them, at the source, to us, the consumer. While it is a somewhat sad read for sure, I hope it frees some folks from guilt around their plastic waste. The reality is we’re living in a broken system. That's why Cleenland exists — to give folks another option, to join together so our collective actions can support companies that are already taking responsibility for the full life cycle of their product (like HiBAR!) and influence other companies to do the same.
Shop their brick-and-mortar store next time you're in Cambridge, Massachusetts and visit their website for more info at cleenland.com