For years, faux fur has been thought of as an ethical alternative to real fur, with the idea of wearing clothing made from the coat of a dead animal horrid to many.
Anti-fur advocacy has come a long way, and high fashion brands such as Gucci and Versace have even committed to being fur-free, helping faux fur become not just the more ethical option, but also the more popular one.
Along with faux fur, faux leather and faux wool have also become increasingly popular alternatives to the real thing.
But here is the problem: it’s all horrible for the environment.
It’s not “faux fur” or “faux leather” or “faux wool.” It’s plastic. It’s all plastic.
And eventually, all that plastic will very slowly break down, ending up in the water, in the air and in the ground, further polluting our earth.
In fact, the synthetic materials faux fur is made of can take anywhere from 500 to 1000 years to break down.
Those plastics are extremely harmful to the environment.
According to The Ocean Conservancy, “Plastic has been found in more than 60% of all seabirds and in 100% of sea turtles species, that mistake plastic for food.”
The Ocean Conservancy also states that “every year, 8 million metric tons of plastics enter our ocean on top of the estimated 150 million metric tons that currently circulate our marine environments.”
Plastic production and consumption is expected to double over the next 10 years.
People purchase faux fur products because they want to protect animals, wildlife and the environment, but they are doing the opposite by buying products that will create trash and pollution that will not go away for a long time.
Now, I’m not trying to say that buying clothing made of real fur is the better alternative. As an animal lover, I don’t like the idea of killing animals just for their fur.
Also, turning real fur into coats and other products is bad for the environment, so it’s not exactly a great option either.
A 2011 report from the research organization CE Delft found that producing one kilogram of mink fur results in around 110 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions.
Real fur is also heavily processed with chemicals to prevent the animals’ skins from decomposing.
According to a 2015 report from the Fur Free Alliance, fur products contain chemicals that can cause cancer and allergies.
Neither option sounds very good, but if you really like fur products (faux or not), there are ways to buy them without causing so much harm to the environment or to animals.
A solution: Buy secondhand clothing.
Whether you buy a fur product at a thrift store or through an application such as Depop, the good thing about buying it secondhand is that the product already exists.
It is a much better alternative to buying it from a store that will see that as demand for fur products and continue producing them.
I see how faux fur can be seen as a good alternative, but we also need to address and deal with the fact that faux fur is not a perfect option.
Kyara Morales-Rodriguez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]