The COVID-19 pandemic has largely pulled our attention from another global crisis with equally devastating effects: climate change. Azra Hajdarevic and her sister Amra are small business owners who have made it their mission to raise awareness about and innovate solutions to climate change. With their company Terra & Co, the businesswomen create and sell oral care products that are sustainable and simple from the ingredients to the packaging.
Terra & Co's line of sustainable, clean and ergonomic products are making waves, not only for their earth-friendly characteristics but also for the quality and "eco-luxe" aesthetic of their products. Terra & Co has won the Men's Health award for the best dental floss in 2020, as well as bagged Elle Magazine's Green Beauty Award in 2020. As Bosnian refugees, the sister duo is dedicated to social justice and aid. Proceeds from purchases go back to organizations like the Los Angeles Downtown Women's Center.
Azra Hajdarevic speaks passionately about their line of products, the power of small businesses to make an impact on the destructive practices of corporations, the heartbreaking impacts of pollution, and the day-to-day actions that we can all take to contribute to the "big picture" of climate change reversal.
HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE: I come from a creative writing and media background, but I recently took a class on environmental studies and it was eye-opening and sobering. In terms of your business, what strategies are you using to fight climate change and promote sustainability?
AZRA HAJDAREVIC: Yes, my sister and I started a business. [Speaking of environmental studies], I don't know if you know, but there's this conference, it's supposed to be in LA this year. It's called Sustainability Deep Dive. It's a great place to learn about developments in sustainability. I've learned about what people in Denmark are working on, what people in Tel Aviv and in California are working on. It was really interesting to see how many people are passionate about sustainability.
I really do think [the climate crisis] is one of the major issues that we face right now. Unless we modify the way we are living, we are not going to be here for very long. We live in a linear way right now. We think that once something is used, it is out of our way. But it's still with us on this planet; it is just going into oceans and landfills. We need to switch to a circular approach towards the materials and resources we use, everything from furniture to food.
For my sister and I, our idea for this business was to create sustainable everyday-use products. There was a gap in the oral care industry in terms of sustainability. We realized that oral products are used by everyone, so the potential was immense. Most people use disposable toothbrushes and most toothpastes are filled with harmful chemicals.
We started with a small brand. I'm a makeup artist in New York who's passionate about sustainability. My sister comes from the skincare industry, where she helps a few startups work and she [helps] with the business side of [things]. So we put our forces together. People were interested in charcoal toothpaste, so we started there. We wanted to use plain ingredients and sustainable packaging. Our tubes are made with sugar cane plastic; bioplastic is still a plastic, but we are working on materials that use less transportation and water, as well as fewer plastics.
Then we added a toothbrush. Our toothbrush is made from bamboo and is biodegradable. Now we're thinking about using materials that are already in the land, recycling and making toothbrushes [that way].
Photo: Terra & Co founders Azra and Amra Hajdarevic (C) Terra & Co