ECO. Modern Essentials: Natural Beauty

We’re a big believer in treading lightly on this planet and creating a lifestyle that is healthy for you and the environment. Here we chat with ECO. Modern Essentials, another supporter of this year’s Trash Tribe Cape York Expedition about natural beauty.


Tell us about ECO. Modern Essentials and the vision behind the brand.

ECO. Modern Essentials are the specialist in natural and organic oil formulations for face, body and wellbeing. The ECO. brand embodies women who are engaged with their world; are active, healthy and love to look after themselves with natural, local and organic products. We understand the need for women to have products they can trust; simple, natural, effective skincare that can be easily tied into their busy routines. Our products range from healing face serums to nourishing body oils, to pure essential oils to a certified organic baby range. We’ve also recently expanded further into the wellbeing category with a series of superfood powders! We are constantly innovating and always looking for what else we can bring to our customers and to the industry.

ECO. embodies vibrant, active and healthy living, so the brand goes further than just skincare, we want our customers to use our products as one of the many cornerstones to leading a healthy and natural life. We know how busy the modern woman is as well, so the ECO. brand is all about simplifying skincare regimes with effective, accessible products you can trust.


What we put on the outside of our body absolutely effects the inside of our body.


It’s scary some of the chemicals used in cosmetic products, why is it so important to use natural and organic products on our skin?

What we put on the outside of our body absolutely effects the inside of our body. More and more we are becoming aware of the kinds of food we eat and where they come from, as we understand the correlation that has with our physical wellbeing. However, it works the same way for the products we use on and around our body as well. I don’t believe we fully understand the impact nasty chemicals and ingredients are having on our bodies yet, but we know it’s not good.


Do you think there is an increase in the number of consumers seeking all-natural and organic products?

Absolutely. We have seen a huge shift in the number of consumers beginning to become more conscious in their purchasing decisions when it comes to skincare. We have particularly noticed this in other countries around the world – export is a huge part of the ECO. brand and we have noticed this only continue to grow as more people around the world begin to look for safe, natural alternatives for their family.


Why is it important for ECO to produce their products in Australia?

Made in Australia has always been the heart of the ECO. brand – there’s never been a question about moving it elsewhere. Besides supporting our local businesses and industries, manufacturing in Australia also ensures the best possible quality for our products.


ECO. has had numerous environmental initiatives previously, and is now also a supporter of this year’s Trash Tribe expedition to Cape York – why is it important for ECO. to support environmental projects? What are some of the initiatives you’ve supported in the past?

ECO. focuses on natural and organic ingredients and products, so caring about the outcome of the environment has been very important to us. We launched the ECO. Clean Beach Initiative in 2013, a national campaign aimed at educating young people about the issues facing our oceans and how they can be a apart of positive solutions. We have worked closely with a number of local grassroots organisations to support environmental conservation efforts.

It also comes down to the small decisions we make every day and being aware of the impact we’re having. This might be purchasing bottles that are of the highest recyclable grade, or supporting local businesses wherever possible.


Hopefully as more and more businesses switch to more eco-friendly options, it becomes more financially viable for everyone.


What challenges do you see businesses face in shifting away from plastic packaging? 

As a company, less than 10% of the products we produce are bottled in plastic. In the 2016/17 financial year we shipped over 1 million products in glass bottles, and only 90,000 in plastic. The plastic we use is of the highest recyclable grade possible. We are working on a new product collection as we speak and ensuring we have the least amount of packaging possible is at the top of the priority list.

In terms of more businesses reducing their plastic usage, I think that will ultimately come down to it being good business. As mush as many people want to make the right choices by the environment, we’re all fighting every day to keep our businesses alive and to do well, so it needs to be smart business too. Hopefully as more and more businesses switch to more eco-friendly options, it becomes more financially viable for everyone.


What positive changes would ECO. like to see in the Australian and international wellbeing industry?

We would love to see the shift in consumers moving to natural alternatives continue to increase. We would also love to see the continued growth of the “indie beauty” movement. There are more and more consumers looking to smaller brands and start-ups for their skincare and beauty products, rather than huge international brands with multi-million dollar marketing budgets. The indie beauty movement is good for everyone – it drives innovation, encourages collaboration, and increase awareness for natural and organic products.


You can check out the ECO. range on their website:

Earth Bottles: Stopping Plastic Pollution At The Source

We love Earth Bottles and they have been big supporters of our clean up expeditions for a long time. This year, they’re a brand partner for our 2017 Cape York Trash Tribe expedition. We spoke to the creator of Earth Bottles, Danni Carr, on her vision and passion for our oceans.


Tell us what inspired Earth Bottles.

Initially the idea for doing water bottles came about after many trips to Bali – we are always down on the beach and I was continually appalled by the amount of plastic water bottles on the beach and in the waterways. At the same time, I was looking for more eco friendly products for Ash’s merchandise (my husband is a musician) and decided it would be a great idea to do a really good quality water bottle. So, after some research I found the bottles I liked and had Ash’s logo printed on them. They sold so well that we decided I should start my own company with my own logo – and that’s pretty much how it started!


Just last week, our clean up partner organisation Tangaroa Blue removed over 10,000 plastic water bottles from a beach on the west coast of Cape York – with so many plastic bottles polluting our oceans and waterways, what keeps you hopeful about the state of our oceans and planet?

10,000!!! That’s INSANE! I feel that the more educated people get about the plastic pollution problem, the more people will be aware and start to make changes. People like you guys (Clean Coast Collective) and other organisations, music festivals, touring acts, and some councils are helping to make people aware of the damage that all this plastic is causing, to make better choices and to clean up – I’m very hopeful.

I think every little change can make a difference. We had a big spike in sales last month and (we live in Bali but) I am told that there has been some really great documentaries screening in Australia about plastic pollution – this is great and will help to get the message across to the wider community. So we can see that from those docos, that there are people making changes, which is great!


As a company trying to rid the world of single-use plastic bottles, do you think there is a trend towards consumers using reusable bottles?

Absolutely! There are heaps of awesome water bottles and eco-friendly companies out there making lots of great alternatives available for people. I notice more and more these days when we travel that people have their reusable water bottles in hand or are carrying reusable bags, much more than ten years ago. I think it’s pretty uncool to be seen with a plastic water or plastic shopping bag these days.


Besides offering an alternative to single-use plastic bottles, Earth Bottles supports a number of social and environmental causes – can you share with us the causes your bottles support and why you chose each of them?

At Earth Bottles we support charities that are close to our own hearts, so we donate a percentage of profits to the Breast Cancer Network of Australia – my sister came through a long breast cancer battle and I know a lot of women still fighting and who have fought breast cancer. The work that BCNA do for those women and their families is amazing, so we brought in the pink bottles and we donate 25% of the sales of those bottles to the BCNA.

The same for Beyond Blue (with our turquoise bottle) who are an amazing resource for those suffering from mental illness. We also recently teamed up with 15 Trees, a really amazing organisation where anyone can buy credits to plant a tree. I think one tree costs around $4.50 to planet, so for each gift pack sold, we plant a tree. Recently we attended the Finders Keepers market in Melbourne and for each bottle we sold, we planted a tree.

We also support other small community charities and fundraisers when we can.


Corporate greed has done so much damage to our society, so to be a company that gives and is not just driven by profits makes me feel that, in a very small way, my little company is making a difference and that makes me happy.


Why is it important for Earth Bottles to give back as a brand?

It’s very important to me personally to give back to those who are also giving so much. It is really important to keep these organisations going and supported so they can continue the work they do. Corporate greed has done so much damage to our society, so to be a company that gives and is not just driven by profits makes me feel that, in a very small way, my little company is making a difference and that makes me happy.


It’s all about educating our kids and if their voices are loud enough the government and big corporations will have no choice but to be more ethical and more eco friendly.


As mothers, do you feel hopeful about where our world is headed and the state of the natural world?

Um… I AM hopeful. I am hopeful that we will ALL education our kids to make the right choices and to tread lightly on the planet. It’s all about educating our kids and if their voices are loud enough the government and big corporations will have no choice but to be more ethical and more eco friendly.


What does the future hold for Earth Bottles?

Well, we are starting to branch out into some different countries – Europe, Japan, New Zealand and the US. I am just trying to take it slowly as I’m still learning about this whole business caper. As long as it is still fun and a great environment to work in, then we will take each day as it comes and see where we end up!


Grab an Earth Bottle for yourself on their website:


OceanZen: When Marine Science And Swimwear Combine

OceanZen is an Australian swimwear brand run by young female entrepreneur and Marine Scientist, Steph Gabriel. OceanZen is a supporter of this year’s Trash Tribe expedition to Cape York – we sat down with Steph to learn more about her ocean-saving bikinis!


Tell us about OceanZen – the inspiration and what you hope to achieve with it.

OceanZen was inspired from a raw and sincere passion for the ocean, and has been a whirlwind of an adventure since. We use a fabric made from recycled plastic bottles and fishing nets from the ocean, whilst following sustainable business practices and sharing a message for ocean conservation. I never predicted I would end up here though.

Travel is something that I truly believe every single person, especially women, should experience on their own at some point in their life- it completely opens your mind and soul in ways that can’t be described. In 2009 I left Sydney and embarked on a solo mission around the globe. No idea where I was going or for how long, I just left. I ended up floating around the globe for 3 years, and during that time I stumbled across a beautiful Caribbean island which I called home for a year. I can also safely say I had the best job in the entire world haha; handling wild Southern Atlantic stingrays, all day, everyday in the ocean. This was the chapter that determined my destiny, and little did I know at the time I would end up where I am now.

My time in the Caribbean allowed me to learn from marine life and learn about the ocean, in the ocean, an opportunity I had never experienced before. Although it was the best job in the world, I started to learn of the effects humans were having on the stingrays, and more so, I could see the damage from humanity on our oceans. I wanted to learn more, and more so learn how I could help, so I came back home and studied a degree in Environmental Science and Marine Ecology.

The inspiration for OceanZen was inspired from my time in the Caribbean, and the core values for OceanZen are to inspire change and help save our oceans, one bikini at a time.

So if you have a dream, hold on tight, ride the wave and when you finally hit that goal there’s nothing but pure smiles.


Last year, Oceanzen shifted to using recycled lycra fabrics, tell us about this fabric and why it was so important for you to start using it.

I was backpacking through Costa Rica in 2010 and was sitting around a campfire one night with a few people from all walks of life, chin wagging and telling tales, and this was when I first heard about a fabric made from recycled plastic bottles and fishing nets from the ocean. At this moment, I never in my wildest dreams thought twice about launching a sustainable swimwear brand. I was merely fascinated with the incredible possibility of a fabric saving our oceans. It was 3 years later when I was studying my degree that I wanted a voice for sustainability and wanted to combine both of my passions; marine conservation and bikinis together. I was so excited and I couldn’t wait to launch OceanZen, but I was studying full-time and working two jobs and sadly couldn’t afford the price tag of the fabric. So I eagerly launched OceanZen without the fabric, and although OceanZen had to wait patiently until I could afford it, the brand was still launched following sustainable business practices and has shared my values and awareness for our oceans from day dot. I had to wait two years until I could afford to import it and buy enough to sustain a full collection, and when I did, words don’t describe the excitement and the sense of achievement!

So if you have a dream, hold on tight, ride the wave and when you finally hit that goal there’s nothing but pure smiles.


Do you think there is an increasing trend of brands seeking out textiles that are made from recycled or sustainable fibres?

There is definitely a conscious shift happening where consumers and brands are learning of their impacts on the environment and wanting to contribute towards a positive movement. I actually frequently get asked for advice from people who are either wanting to switch to a more sustainable business or wanting to start their own sustainable bikini label. It is really amazing that people are wanting to support a happier earth, but it’s important to stay true to yourself and truly understand what it means to be sustainable.


As an Environmental Scientist, it must be quite disheartening to know the full magnitude of the negative impact that human society is having on our oceans – what brings you hope about the state of our ocean, coral reefs and marine wildlife?

It is really disheartening, and it can be very easy to sink into a black hole haha, but there is also a really amazing movement happening right now and I feel as though these next few years are going to go down in history! There’s a sea change and an incredible shift happening and there is SO MUCH awareness around plastic pollution these days and it’s inspiring businesses especially to go plastic free. I used to work in marine conservation education where we would go to school’s with small marine animals; sea cucumbers, sea stars, bamboo sharks, sea urchins etc and do live demonstrations for kids aged 2- 15. These kids would learn about the animals, sharks and plastic pollution and they would be amazed, devastated and completely moved. Although our generation is speaking up about environmental topics and creating the term change markers, these kids are the ones that are going to invent change.


And as an entrepreneur, what would be your advice to someone else wanting to start a new brand?

If you are truly passionate about something then go for it, start yesterday, but be prepared because it is a constant rollercoaster haha, ups and downs and highs and lows. Sometimes I feel like on the outside it might look easy, but it can be super challenging, and that’s why it’s really important to launch something you are passionate about because ultimately your passion is what will keep you hanging on by a thread sometimes when times are tough. It is really awesome though because more people are following their dream’s and breaking away from ‘the norm’ these days and there’s a whole community of change makers that will be ready to support your journey when you take the plunge!


Do you think businesses have a responsibility to care for the environment?

The world would be a completely different place if every single business had core environmental values. Each business has a network which they can potentially inspire sustainability to, and on that note, if every business followed eco-friendly practices perhaps our oceans and landfill would be filled with less branded marine debris items. It’s not just businesses though that have a responsibility, we all do. We all have a choice and we choose what we buy and where we buy from. It’s a continued domino effect going round in circles between consumer and business, and society ultimately decides who we support with our dollar and what we do with the product once finished with.


Besides supporting the Trash Tribe as a brand partner, you also successfully applied to join the expedition as a volunteer – what inspired you to apply to come and get your hands dirty in Cape York?

I love every core value of Clean Coast Collective, and fully believe in everything you are doing for sustainability and our oceans, and more so I want to support Clean Coast Collective! The Trash Tribe last year removed 3.1 tonnes of marine debris; that is bloody incredible! I remember seeing the experiences from everyone who participated on social media, and was completely wowed by your success! That’s thousands of marine creatures you directly saved, I want to help kick goals and remove more than that, and share your journey with the world as you save our seas, one trash tribe at a time.

OceanZen is branching out, it won’t ever just be a bikini label, the message is so much stronger than bikini’s and the world is full of oysters.


What’s next for OceanZen?

If I’m honest, I have no clue what’s around the corner haha. As an ‘entrepreneur’ everything is always so unpredictable as new ideas flourish. We have spent the last few years going to Tonga to swim with wild humpback whales and this year we launched the OceanZen eco-retreat where people can come and swim with the whales with us. It’s really exciting to bring together a group of ocean loving conservationists and to experience these magnificent creatures together. We are off in September for the experience of a lifetime! I can’t wait to see everyone’s smile’s when they first encounter the beauty of a whale underwater!! OceanZen is branching out, it won’t ever just be a bikini label, the message is so much stronger than bikini’s and the world is full of oysters.


Read more about OceanZen and see their full range of bikinis on their website: