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Worries about plastic

Discussion in 'Environment' started by Ally, Jul 10, 2017.

  1. Ally

    Ally Member

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    Hi, my name is Ally, I'm a student and I've been vegan since around mid march, up until then I have been mostly vegetarian from the age of 13. I'm the only vegetarian or vegan in my whole family that I know of (extended also), so at times have found it difficult to justify why I am trying to be Vegan, but nevertheless my family are supportive.
    Ever since becoming Vegan I have become more aware of ethical problems the world is facing, such as waste, pollution due to big productions of products and of fairtrade made clothing. I am only 21 and a student therefore unable to afford to buy my clothes from all ethically good clothes shops, but so far I have decided cluttered my life and am only trying to wear clothing with most or all natural materials also, buying from ethical places if possible.
    One of the worries I have is that when I do order better ethical made clothing from a sale perhaps, the clothing comes in a plastic bag, or with lots of plastic packaging. I know it can't be recycled and will probably just end up on a landfill somewhere, previously I have asked for it to be sent in a cardboard box but know I cannot ask every time. I wonder how anybody else here can find the balance between fairtrade and environment.
    I'm scared about how plastic ends up and the damaging the environment, currently I need to buy a new duvet and pillow as my old one was made with feathers (bought by my Dad)
    Should I just continue to use these until they're worn or buy a new set as I know they will likely come in a plastic packaging?
    Has anybody else here had debating thoughts like this before?
    Thank you
    Ally
     
  2. Jamie in Chile

    Jamie in Chile Active Member

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    It's a good direction to reduce plastic use. I now tell people in stores to give me products without a bag many times if that's practical. If you are having stuff delivered with packaging you can try and buy it in the store. If that's not possible you are just going to have to accept it. Try and reuse the plastic somehow.

    If ethical clothing or other products is more expensive, you can try and afford it by also making your existing clothes last longer and owning less clothes, which would double the environmental benefit.

    I suggest you carry on using products with feathers that were already bought as long as you are comfortable with doing so. Maybe the saved money can help you buy some ethical clothes.

    I think you're doing well to be thinking about so many ethical issues at such a young age and hope you continue down the same path but don't obsess over the impossible search for perfection. Just do the best you can do.
     
  3. Ally

    Ally Member

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    Thank you, that is such a helpful reply. I do have a tendency to overthink these things and know there is only a certain amount that I can do. Sometimes I worry about how much waste I must have made since a younger age and I wince everything I know I've bought something that doesn't have any recyclable on or in it.
    I also work with children and worried about the waste that is made there (gloves etc) .
    For clothing, do you tend to go for ethically made of for quality? One of my thoughts is to try to find better quality clothing second hand, therefore it will last, has not been bought new and the money will go towards charity.
    Thank you again for your reply :)
    Ally
     
  4. poivron

    poivron Member

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    I hope you haven't bought a new duvet and pillow yet. A down comforter and pillow can literally last you a lifetime. Every few years, you can wash it in a front-loading washing machine at your local laundromat, then thoroughly dry it in a dryer, and keep it usable effectively forever. (Note that you have to dry it for a really long time, or it will smell bad. If that happens, no worries: just wash it again, with baking soda, vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide, and this time dry it properly.) If you buy a new set, it will be made of plastic (look it up: "synthetic" means "plastic"; "polyester", for example, is "polyurethane", the same stuff plastic bottles are made of). A sad irony is that even though plastic never biodegrades, things made of plastic are rarely made to last very long, since plastic is cheap to produce. If you use the duvet and pillow your father gave you, you will use them for the rest of your life, whereas if you buy a new plastic set, you will probably have to replace it in 5-10 years. Moreover, down will keep you warmer than plastic, allowing you to turn down the heat in your flat all winter, thereby saving a few polar bears.

    I am not recommending that anyone go out and buy a new down pillow or comforter. But when you have a down pillow and comforter that has already been purchased, the damage has already been done. The only question becomes whether you use it before it goes to a landfill. I have thought a lot about this issue, and my personal conclusion is that it's much better to use an item while it is usable than to buy a new item that will end up in a landfill in a few years and harm animals for hundreds or thousands of years afterwards. Vegans do animals a disservice when they advise a new vegan to throw away all their leather and wool items and purchase synthetic equivalents. Most donated clothing ends up in the landfill, so what they're doing is sending perfectly usable items to the landfill in the pursuit of purity. Veganism is not a religion, and it doesn't help animals one bit to try to turn it into one. As much as some people argue that wearing used leather sends the message that wearing leather is acceptable, it is also true that buying synthetics sends manufacturers the message that they can feel free to continue to produce unlimited amounts of virgin plastic. It is only when consumers start refusing to buy plastics that companies will feel an incentive to develop synthetics that are truly biodegradable.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  5. Jamie in Chile

    Jamie in Chile Active Member

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    I think I missed this reply some months ago. I just saw it today when the other reply was added to the thread.

    To tell you the truth, when I buy clothes I mainly look at the price and the only factor is that I just want to get it done quickly. However in recent years I have started to reduce the total clothes I buy, and sometimes I am a bit skeptical of very cheap clothing thinking it won't last and also will have been made by paying someone in Bangladesh a tiny wage. However I haven't given this enough thought to really give any advice.
     
  6. Lesley

    Lesley Member

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    I'd recommend continuing the use of clothes and bedding until they are no longer fit for purpose. I try not to buy new clothes often, instead I have a look around local charity shops for some gems.
     

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