DON’T ALWAYS BELIEVE THE HYPE
While terms such as ‘ethical’ and ‘sustainable’ may be used with genuine sentiment, they are also often bandied around with very little care.
Take the following description I came across of fake fur. ‘Ethical, earth-friendly fake fur made from cruelty-free sustainable materials’. Sounds good, right? Well, the fake fur in question is actually made from:
• polyester, a plastic fibre made using a chemical reaction involving petroleum, coal, and water, often in facilities integrated to oil refineries
• acrylic, a synthetic fibre developed by Dupont which must contain at least 85 per cent of acrylonitrile, a possibly carcinogenic chemical
• modacrylic, a flame-retardant synthetic fibre developed originally by Union Carbide, a corporation best known for the Bhopal disaster
At the end of its life (which is generally much shorter than natural fur), fake fur is unlikely to be recycled (90 per cent of plastic isn’t), will not biodegrade, and may shed microfibres that will end up in the sea, and in the fish we eat.