This is a tough one and will divide vegans forever! I have been pondering on this for some time, recently my mother passed on a pair of leather boots that she can no longer wear I accepted them and have since wondered if I should wear them.
So is it ok for Vegans to wear second hand leather? There is no short answer to this and it will cause many a debate for a long time! We need to consider the impact of the ‘double’ message we are putting out there but also the environmental impact of new good and synthetic goods! Read on and draw your own conclusions friends!
You see I am conscious that new synthetic fabrics aren’t the best for the environment and whilst they may not use animal products (but unless they are vegan friendly, the glue might contain animal products!) they aren’t necessarily ethically produced and therefore kind to our planet or the people manufacturing them! Of course, there are ethical vegan brands out there but often outside of many vegans’ budget!
To be eco-friendly, in my opinion, we need to consume less and buying second hand items does just that! Buying second hand leather items will likely last well and mean we buy again later rather than sooner! I have leather goods from before I became vegan and I still use those it seems wasteful to just discard them and replace with new? But should I buy leather, wool or other animal products second hand? I am so certain of my conviction to not add to animal suffering by buying them new it’s a no brainer BUT second hand I am not so sure because I also have thought about the environmental impact of buying synthetic goods!
I have trawled the internet for a one size fits all answer! Its not there!! There are vegans who absolutely would never ever wear animal products no matter what, there are vegans who would wear second hand because they feel the environmental impact is less and they aren’t creating a demand for animal products if they are only buying second hand. I am literally on the fence and my bum hurts! Lol…
Arguments for… It is less impacting on the environment to buy second hand.
It doesn’t create a demand for the use of animal products in apparel since the ‘buy’ is not new and therefore not recognised on the supplier’s books!
Many synthetic materials are not bio degradable, so using second hand animal products makes sense at least they will eventually go back to nature.
Against… You are still using animal products and that just isn’t vegan!
Whilst it doesn’t create a new demand it might cause someone to look for shoes/bags that are similar and that might result in them purchasing new animal products.
For me I am trying to be less of a consumer! I have a deep love of shopping! But its not in my best interest or in the interests of the planet! Lo and I are actively culling our possessions … it’s a work in progress! If we are culling our possessions it doesn’t make sense to add to them unnecessarily no matter what they are made of or if they are new or preloved!
So for now these are my thoughts (they could change as I hope I am constantly evolving and growing) I am aspiring to become more minimalistic and therefore less of a consumer. I am going to try to buy what I need second hand if possible and if it has animal materials in it then I will still buy it … if I need to buy new there will be no animal products and as ethical as I can manage!