Good news for ecological consumers – Natural fur biodegrades as fast an oak leaf

A scientific study released shows natural fur biodegrading rapidly even in landfill conditions where waste is trapped without oxygen. Fake fur, on the other hand does not biodegrade at all. 
European experts from the Organic Waste Systems laboratory in Ghent, Belgium, examined how real and fake fur degrade in conditions set up to mimic closed landfill conditions, known as anaerobic biodegradation. The test, which was commissioned by IFF and Fur Europe, revealed partial disintegration of natural fur over the 30-day period whereas fake fur did not show any signs of disintegration. Samples under study included undyed mink fur, undyed fox fur, dyed mink fur, dyed fox fur and fake fur. Researchers also looked at the average biodegradation of a number of natural products and found that real fur degrades at the same rate as an oak or willow tree leaf.

Natural fur is eco-friendly

The world is already drowning of synthetic fibre. The use of synthetic fibres is rapidly growing in 21st century, resulting that in 2016 textile manufacturing used almost 60 million tonnes of synthetic fibers, mainly polyester but also polyamid and acrylic. In the beginning of the 2000s, the use of plastic fibre was under 30 million tonnes.
Serge Brunschwig, Chairman and CEO of Fendi has said: “What is new and bad is using petrol to make PVC and other materials, something that started 50 years ago and is polluting the planet in a big way. Using natural animal skin is not doing that. We buy certified fur and certification means protection of animal welfare and there’s no cruelty.”

Fake fur has been promoted as the sustainable alternative to natural fur, but in reality, it is a highly polluting plastic-based product that has long-term environmental consequences.

Fake furs are less expensive than natural furs, making fake fur an attractive option for many people, just like fast fashion, but that is just not what the world needs right now. Fake fur is a byproduct of the petroleum industry and non-biodegradable. Fake fur is produced in factories from chemicals derived from fossil fuels, in other words, fake fur is made from nylon and polyester – the main culprits for the emission of microfibers. Fast-fashion items tend to end up end up as landfill after only a single season and these types of plastic take decades to biodegrade, they are consumed by marine life and eventually enter the food chain.
See natural fur’s and fake fur’s degrading process in the video.

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Did you know?

  • Fake fur is typically made from synthetic polymeric fibers such as acrylic, modacrylic, and/or polyester, all of which are essentially forms of plastic
  • Plastic fibres are made from chemicals derived from coal, air, water, petroleum and limestone.
  • Plastic-based products can take a thousand years to biodegrade and are wreaking havoc on our environment.
  • Euromonitor International’s Top 10 Consumer Trends report for 2019, it identified ‘I want a plastic-free world’ as a leading consumer trend.
  • Thankfully, the issue of plastic pollution is a hot topic and consumers are starting to realize that fake fur is not a sustainable option
  • Real fur is a natural and biodegradable material.
  • Real fur is unmatched in terms of warmth. Independent test results show that real fur is 70% warmer than artificial ‘fake’ option.
  • Real fur garments rarely get tossed into landfill. They are viewed as heirlooms that can be repaired, completely remodeled, resold, or recycled.
  • Real fur is slow fashion at its best. The antithesis of fast fashion.

Images / International Fur Federation