This article was written for Fethiye Times by Steve Parsley
Around 50 people gathered at Fethiye’s Köşe Kahve off Kaya Caddesi on Thursday evening to witness the launch of a new initiative which aims to encourage a more green approach to both purchasing habits and lifestyle choices across the Muğla region.
The Aware Co.
The Aware Co. is the brainchild of textile designer and screen printer Leyla Temiz, 35, already established in the Fethiye area as a screen printer at Ottostop Design in Yanıklar.
However, her own determination to reduce waste by using more off-cuts in her own work was to prove the catalyst for a broader project which snowballed to become Aware Co. in a matter of weeks.
Minimal waste products
After discussing her ideas with friends and contacts, a small team has been busy since the beginning of January assembling a range of minimal-waste products – including items made from beeswax, natural soaps, oils, tote bags and reusable bread bags – while Leyla’s own branding ideas were to lead to the formation of The Aware Co.
“The enthusiasm and momentum has been incredible,” said Layla. “Even my accountant contributed by putting me in touch with a few people he thought shared the same principles. The whole thing has happened so quickly.”
The Fethiye launch on Thursday evening was followed by another in Kalkan yesterday (January 29) and Leyla has indicated her wish to take The Aware Co. message to the tea rooms, bakeries and schools in as many villages as possible throughout 2019.
Addressing those gathered at the Fethiye launch, she added: “We have three main aims, the first of which is to give local makers who share a similar ethos a platform from which to promote their crafts.
“Secondly, we want to source and design minimal-waste products considering sustainability of production and our carbon footprint and, lastly, we want to encourage community feedback by holding regular drop-in meetings to develop even more innovative projects.”
More information about The Aware Co. is available on the group’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/theawareco/ A separate website is also in development.
Turkey’s green initiatives
The project is launched at a time when Turkey’s own government has announced a number of green initiatives which it hopes will enhance the country’s performance on environmental issues.
Supermarkets are now obliged to sell plastic carrier bags for a minimal fee rather than giving them away while this month also saw the Environment and Urbanisation Minister Murat Kurum confirm a deposit for all plastic drink bottles will be introduced in 2023.
Turkey’s First Lady, Emine Erdoğan has also breathed new life into a push for more awareness with her Zero Waste initiative, which celebrated its first year at a special conference in November.
The Aware Co. will operate on a not-for-profit basis, meaning after business costs are covered, money will be spent on community projects to further enhance awareness across the Muğla region.
The Aware Co. will be holding a Pop-Up session at Köşe Kahve this Saturday between 13:00-17:00. Go along, see the products and learn more about the mission to make Fethiye more aware.