Artificial fur against natural: what material is environmentally friendly

Artificial fur against natural: what material is environmentally friendly

We continue to compare the environmental friendliness of clothing and accessories from different materials at each stage of the life cycle: In the first series, we evaluated cotton and polyester, In the second – artificial and genuine leather, In the third – cotton clothes and acrylic.

Natural fur in the modern world has a poor reputation.

Among the fashion houses that completely abandoned its use are Gucci, Prada and Chanel.

In 2018, things made of natural fur were banned in the shows of fashion week in London, and in 2019, California introduced a ban on their sale and production in the territory of the state.

The main reason for the prohibitions is cruel treatment of animals on farms.

And although many fur enterprises are certified that guarantees ethical conditions of detention, the fact of breeding and killing animals for the sake of clothing causes hot disputes.

But we tried to compare natural and artificial fur not from the standpoint of ethics, but from the point of view of environmental impact.

Green economy How brands prove the lack of testing of products on animals Obtaining raw materials Natural fur: 85% of fur things are made from animal skins, which are specially bred for this on farms.

In most cases, these are mink, sometimes foxes.

Less commonly bred chinchillas, lynxes, raccoon dogs.

It is on the farms that a significant part of the emissions of greenhouse gases associated with the life cycle of fur things.

The number of emissions, in particular, is affected by animal nutrition: if they are fed chicken giblets, then general emissions are higher than when feeding fish.

For the sake of furs, they can catch wild animals.

In some cases, this helps to control the population and fight invasive views.

In particular, the Canada Goose brand uses exclusively coichs, which are legally caught in the countries of North America.

Artificial fur: Synthetic fur appeared at the beginning of the 20th century as a more affordable replacement for an expensive natural one.

Acrylic or modacryl is usually used for pile, and fixed on a fabric basis.

Acrylic polymers are produced from chemicals obtained from coal, air, water, oil and limestone.

Some brands, for example, House of FluFF use synthetics made of processed plastic for the production of artificial fur.

There are very few biodegradable alternatives to natural fur.

One of them was developed in Ecopel: it is a fur from corn and redesigned polyester raw materials.

Ecopel used Stella McCartney in her collections.

Sometimes artificial fur is included in natural wool.

But such things do not imitate fur, they differ from it with both properties and appearance.

These are, for example, the fashionable last few seasons of fur coat-Cheburashki.

Long-legged fur coat-“Cheburashka” from sheep’s wool (photo: ozon.

ru) Production Natural fur: Animal skins are cleaned, erased, dried, softened and stretched.

So that the fur things do not spoil and do not decompose, they are treated with special chemicals, usually it is formaldehyde or chrome.

This is such a dangerous process that the experts of the World Bank included the explosion of furs in the five industries with the highest level of pollution with toxic metals.

In industrial production industries, solvents are used that cause respiratory and oncological diseases.

These substances can fall into the soil and water.

Even in the United States, where the legislation provides for strict environmental supervision, the environmental protection agency fined several plant processing plants for environmental pollution.

Artificial fur: In the production of artificial fur, acrylic threads are fixed on a fabric basis.

It can be from different materials – cotton, polyester, wool.

The material of the base affects the general carbon trace of the thing: if it is wool, then emissions are almost twice as high as in the case of the basis of cotton or polyester.

The method of connecting threads is also important: the creation of a knitted canvas requires much less electricity compared to the woven.

The production of acrylic itself, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, is associated with air pollution by particles of acrylonitril and other substances.

Some of them can cause respiratory diseases.

Green economy Wool against acrylic: which material is more environmentally friendly Spreading Natural fur: Most fur farms are in Europe: 70% of the hole and 63% of fox fur are produced here.

Other large manufacturers are Russia and China.

Before getting to the buyer, the fur goes through several stages.

Usually, it is first sold through the auction to direct manufacturers of things.

Then they process, paint, cut and sew things out of it.

After that, they go to stores, and from there to the final buyer.

Artificial fur: The largest artificial fur export is China.

Therefore, theoretically, for Russian buyers, a chance to buy a thing with a minimum carbon footage, made locally, is higher in the case of natural fur.

But in fact, the final consumer is almost impossible to track all the movements of the thing.

The supply chains in the fashion industry are so complex and opaque that sometimes the brands themselves cannot answer, who, where and in what conditions it produces materials for their products.

Usage Natural fur: Proper care of natural fur things can significantly extend their life.

But this material requires special conditions: it is recommended to store fur in a cool place with a temperature of 1-7 ° C and a humidity of about 50%.

You can usually remove pollution only in dry cleaning.

If the fur is stored in special storage facilities with the cooling system, additional electricity is spent on this.

Such storage increases the general effect of a thing on climate change.

According to the estimates of the independent research agency, CE Delft, if you give a mink coat for six months a year for ten years, the emissions associated with its life cycle will amount to 400 kg of CO2-Equival.

Emissions for the same fur coat that are not given to special storage, for ten years will amount to 300 kg of CO2-evivalent.

Artificial fur: Artificial fur does not require special conditions for storage and special care.

It can be washed in a washing machine or manually at low temperatures.

But since it is a synthetic material, microplastics will be released when washing.

From the point of view of microplastic pollution, acrylic is especially dangerous: when washing things, almost one and a half times more particles of plastic falls into water than from polyester.

Green economy Independent ecologists for the first time studied the content of microplasty in the Volga Disposal Natural fur: One of the main arguments of manufacturers of natural fur is its biodegradability.

True, it raises doubts: the same substances that use so that animal skins do not spoil during wearing, can also interfere with the decomposition of fur at the end of his life.

But even if the fur is really able to decompose, consumers usually do not compost their clothes.

“I constantly hear from the designers that they want to create compostable and biodegradable products.

This is great, but how many people do their clothes related to compost? And is there any infrastructure in order to take clothes from consumers and compost it? ”Says Tara Saint James, creator of the library of sustainable textiles Re: Source.

The fur is not accepted for processing.

But some designers and brands use it to create new things.

For example, the Ulyanovsk atelier Kuzina appeared by the Ulyanovsk ATelier after participating in the Acceleration Program for the Development Institute of the Beinopen Fashion Institute.

And the already mentioned Canadian brand Canada Goose has been planning to completely switch to the secondly used fur since 2022.

Artificial fur: Artificial fur, like many other synthetic materials, will be decomposed for centuries, in the process, highlighting microplastics.

It is difficult to process synthetics, especially with a heterogeneous composition.

There is another way to dispose of unnecessary things – burning.

However, as Greenpeace experts note, garbage plants pollute the air with heavy metals and toxic organic compounds.

What is the result? Researchers of the CE DELFT agency compared the influence of fur coats from artificial and natural (mink) fur.

It turned out that at the stage of obtaining raw materials and production, greenhouse gas emissions for natural fur are much higher (about six times) than for an artificial one.

Natural fur lost according to many other criteria – pollution of drinking water, oceans and soil, the use of land, toxicity for the human body.

However, things made of natural fur have been serving for decades.

This means that they can be safely bought on instruments, in second-hand and vintage stores.

Landon Miller, an employee of one of the main commission stores in New York, recommends to inspect the former use of the thing for the “bald spot” and the thinning of the fur, as well as check if there are gaps in the seams.

Vanessa Friedman’s fashion critic also acts as a vintage fur to defend the vintage fur: “To destroy the fur that has already been worn – both from the point of view of the ecology and from the point of view of history, things are much worse than continuing to handle it carefully,” she says.

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