GET TO KNOW ETICO SOCIETY

In line with Plastic Free July, we had the absolute pleasure of chatting with Kayla, the beautiful human behind Etico Society

Get to know her a little more and why she started her social platform, as well as her own personal tips on reducing your impact on this planet we call earth. 

What is the meaning behind Etico Society?

I think we forget how much power we hold as consumers and it’s so important to make an empowered and educated decision when purchasing things, I think it’s so important to understand the TRUE cost of products. 

What made you want to create a social account promoting ethical and sustainable brands?

‘A good idea is measured in many ways, by the part of the brain that neuro science tells us lights up, and you just can’t get it out of your head..’ I don’t know who said this, but it really resonates with me...because I believe they’re talking about passion. 

After travelling on and off for three years after high school, my interest in the developing world started to flourish. On my return, I started a degree in international studies with the intention of one day somehow saving the world and alleviating/ending global poverty...haha that was an overwhelming dream, so I thought...baby steps.

I also stumbled across the concept of ‘trade not aid’ and realised supporting artisans and communities in the developing world was much more sustainable than injecting money into their economy or sending aid workers overseas. However, in a corrupt and poverty stricken country, unfortunately, comes exploitation. I started looking into modern day slavery and was honestly shocked by the prevalence of modern day slavery TODAY. How are such expensive big brands exploiting innocent people? Not only that, the earth and animals too.

 

I decided I needed to become a more conscious consumer; buying fair trade, using less plastic/polyester products, cutting out meat from my diet etc.

When you’re passionate enough about something you become an advocate. Social media is a great tool to try and help empower other people’s purchasing decisions. So, I guess I wanted to share my knowledge and the brands I love and trust and make it easier for people to consume ethical & sustainable products.

Give us an idea of what you look for in a brand, whether that be to support online or purchase one of their items. 

Shared values for sure, I love supporting brands that:

  • Care about their environmental impact/foot print; natural dyes, natural/organic fibres
  • Care about the welfare of animals; cruelty free, vegan
  • Brands that ensure a fair wage and good working conditions and support artisans in the developing world, especially women and children.
  • I also love brands that operate as social enterprises and give back to a community or cause like Thankyou for example! Love that stuff, more of that please.

What are your top three tips for people, when purchasing new clothing or accessories?

  • ASK QUESTIONS. If you cant easily access information about who made your clothes, then there’s a good chance it’s because they don’t want you to know. Perhaps it was made in a sweatshop. So ask questions, check the tags and labels.

Is it tested on animals?

Is it made from synthetic fibres like polyester and plastic?

Is it ridiculously cheap and made in Bangladesh?

If yes, let these be alarm bells. Fast fashion is about convenience, short-lived trends and cheap & nasty products, so once you start recognising these small things it makes the process of elimination so much easier. See if you can turn off your autopilot next time you’re shopping and ask yourself those questions.

  • Do your research, download the ‘good on you’ app, order/download a free copy of the Baptist World Aid Ethical Fashion Guide (Fashion Rev and Stop the Traffik are also good resources), watch the film ‘The True Cost’ and follow accounts & blogs like Etico Society, Ethically Kate, that promote great ethical brands [psst. like Ahimsa Collective]
  • Don’t be harsh on yourself, conscious consumerism is a lifestyle change and small things WILL make a difference so don’t feel over whelmed by it. Just slowly start making changes where and when you can.  

Ethical & Sustainable are two words becoming very popular throughout many industries. What do these two mean to you?

"I believe the term ‘ethical’ has a lot to do with human/animal rights, fair wages, fair working conditions etc. Sustainability focuses on the environmental impact."
 

Do you have any recommendations for people in terms of day-to-day waste and how they can reduce their plastic use or general waste footprint?

I found that a majority of my plastic consumption started in the kitchen and with the groceries, so know your weaknesses and turn them into strengths. 

Here are some things I started with:

  • Buy from fruit and veg shops or markets rather than the big supermarkets like Coles & Woothworths. Although they are banning single use plastic bags, EVERYTHING else is bloody wrapped in plastic
  • Things like spinach and nuts can we bought loosely, so just purchase little produce bags, which have drawstrings. These bags are often made out of recycled bottles or organic cotton. They are also cheap to buy
  • Environmentally friendly shopping bags, I keep a couple in my car and a couple by the door so I can’t forget. You don’t even need to buy these, you might have tote bags lying around that you’d use as a beach bag? Well now it’s a shopping bag
  • Buy yourself a cute little keep cup
  • Ditch the glad wrap. I use beeswax covers now and they are awesome, you can also get beeswax lunch/sandwich bags and if you’re vegan there are also vegan alternatives to beeswax
  • Another product I HAVE to mention because I’m amazed by it is The Better Packaging it is a plastic alternative made from sustainably sourced plants and therefore is compostable.

 

Make sure you check out, follow and get double-tapping on Kayla's beautiful and honest content over at  Etico Society

If you have any another tips or other alternative products to help reduce plastic waste, then we'd love to hear about them in the comments below.

Or if you'd like to get to know Kayla some more, and have any other questions, pop them in the comments below.