Living a low-waste life offers a business opportunity

September 9, 2019

CAMBRIDGE — On a recent afternoon, Sarah Levy picked up an empty pickle jar from a shelf in her storefront, sniffed it, and then suggested a customer fill it with soap. There’s a take-a-jar, leave-a-jar policy at Cleenland, Levy’s new “low-waste, no-shame” store that lets shoppers stock up on cleaning supplies using their own bottles. And as an early adopter of an emerging shift in American consumption habits, she has become adept at getting the gherkin smell out of glass.

“This is not a trend; it’s a resurgence of interest in re-using instead of recycling,” said Levy, who opened Cleenland in Central Square in June. After weighing her customers’ jars, she commiserates with them over global environmental challenges.

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