Moral Meltdowns & Ethical Conundrums!

 

Why does giving a shit feel so exhausting at times?!

 

I aim to live compassionately and have adopted certain lifestyle changes over the last couple of years. I don’t eat animals or any animal by-product. I invest in cruelty-free clothing, skincare and household products. I try to reduce waste; owning reusable shopping bags and coffee cups, buying package-free items where possible, etc, etc. But, no matter how much I feel like I am helping the planet in some way, I stumble across new information that makes me think, ‘geez, I need to be doing more!’

 

This feeling carries over into my business ethos. My aim with my brand is to promote conscious consumerism. I want to encourage people to research where their products come from, buy more responsibly and support small businesses who care about the planet. With this in mind, all our products are made from 100% vegan materials, with many items being made from recycled textile remnants to minimise waste. All our  marketing material is recyclable and our packaging is biodegradable. However, the more I look into how we can live more sustainably and environmentally-friendly, I find myself feeling pretty overwhelmed. Just when you’re feeling ace about the changes you’re making to do ‘your bit’ for the planet, ‘your bit’ still doesn’t feel like enough.

 

Cruelty-Free Vegan Knitting

 

Microplastics. You guys have heard of them, right?! Those iiiity-bitty bits of plastic found in a whole bunch of everyday items that end up in the ocean and are super harmful to aquatic life {We’ve all seen THAT ‘Blue Planet’ episode!}. I recently discovered that a big contributor to these little buggers finding their way to the ocean is when we wash items made from synthetic fibres in the washing machine. So, materials like acrylic, polyester, nylon, etc. 

 

This struck a chord with me. My beanies are made using acrylic yarn. I had put a lot of work into researching and sourcing a high quality yarn to be able to give my customers an awesome wool-alternative. It felt so good that I was able to offer the vegans out there super-squishy beanies that didn’t have that cheap, itchy feel a lot of synthetic fibres have. But, realising that synthetic materials like this could be potentially harmful to the environment has left me in a bit of an ethical conundrum!! 

 

Even though I don’t think I’ve ever machine-washed a beanie that I own (is that gross?!) there are some great products available which help counteract this. Guppyfriend Bags, for example, are laundry bags that catch microfibres from synthetic materials, preventing them from ending up in our waterways. You can then dispose of the microfibres in your general waste along with your other rubbish. I’ll be purchasing one of these as I have quite a few items of clothing in my wardrobe containing synthetic fibres, and I’m a wee bit excited to see how this works {nerd alert!}. If any of you have one of these, or similar, I’d love to hear how you’re getting on with them.

 

Guppyfriend Bag - STOP Microwaste

 

Now, I know that we all have to pick our battles from time to time and sometimes we can’t tick every single box. I feel like at times we can over-think the small details and that the changes we want to make as individuals are just a drop in the ocean {no pun intended!} compared to what some of these huge ‘ignorance-is-bliss’ corporations are pumping out into the world. I just wanted to put this out there and find out what you guys think. 

 

Vegans out there: Are you happy purchasing products as long as they are completely cruelty-free and don’t mind the use of synthetic fibres?

 

Ethical consumers: Do you seek out products made using solely sustainable materials, like cotton, linen, bamboo? Is the purchasing of synthetic materials absolutely fine as long as we are taking steps to minimise their impact on the environment, Guppyfriend Bags, etc.

 

I have sourced some incredible organic cotton that I will be using to create some new beanie designs, most likely for Autumn/Winter this year. I guess the question is, should I aim to have my entire product line using only sustainable materials?

 

Even after my brain goes round the houses about all this, I think it’s important to feel good about the growing number of people aiming to live more responsibly. Even if it’s just those that don’t want to pay 5p for a carrier bag at the super market, subconsciously there’s a little voice that says ‘huh, so they’re trying to get us to use less plastic’. Coffee shops offering discounts for using reusable cups, takeaway places ditching the plastic cutlery, and even companies like Wetherspoons replacing their plastic straws with paper ones, all of these are examples of where these changes can make a difference.   

 

Thanks so much for reading! I’d love to get your feedback. Any recommended information sources, articles or tips on staying sane on this matter would also be massively appreciated! 

 

:)

 

 


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  • Katherine seifert on

    Hi I am vegan and I completely get that its like never ending trying to do better and buy better. It’s like Palm oil I thought I was doing good stopping purchasing anything with it in then I read a article saying don’t boycott Palm oil. As I read it said Palm oil is the least oil that uses less deforestation, where as sunflower oil is much worse and so boycotting Palm oil will put the rise up for more sunflower which will cause much more land destroyed for it. So I’m in a huge dilemma and I think can i do without oil completely???? Any how just to say keep doing what your doing as long as you stick to what you believe in and keep evolving and learning your customers will really respect that in you xxx great blog by the way only just found it.

  • I Heart Threads Co. on

    Hi Kate!

    Thanks so much for your feedback :) I’m glad I’m not the only one doing my brain in about all this!

    Totally agree about the transparency of supply chains, distribution processes, etc. It can be such a ball ache trying to find out how brands operate and trying to make sure you’re not helping to fund some asshole corporation somewhere along the line.

    I guess we have to hold on to the hope that even just being aware of these issues is a massive step in the right direction for changes to be made for the greater good. <3

  • Kate on

    Great post!! The dilemmas never stop, especially when you think you have found an ethical product because of the materials used but then do shit loads of research only to find out that the manufacturing process and product shipment makes it equally as bad as the original product you were trying to steer away from!

    Then throw humanitarian ethics into the equation, trying to trace back through the supply chain to make sure every individual at every stage is being treated fairly, which is near impossible and you almost always find something questionable… But then the answers to resolving these issues can be so convoluted

    An article I read years ago has always stayed with me, it involved a cheap ass clothing brand in America that the media suddenly targeted because of the Indonesian child labour being used. The shoppers boycotted the store and sales plummeted leading to the store finally changing their ethos and using adult fair paid labour. Which seemed like a massive social change-win, till I continued reading to find out that an academic research team had been following the story and decided to visit the Indonesian town to meet the children and young people who had been working in the factory. As it turned out their sudden lack of wages had sent families into poverty and street orphans with nothing. A depressing percentage of them had been forced into the sex industry in order to counter act their sudden loss of wages…

    So now even when I think I’m supporting a good social cause, I get struck (and stuck) by thoughts of the future and the butterfly effect of every action. It’s like a game of chess and I don’t have the expertise at all to play! But then do we just tap out and continue playing ignorant because it’s too much effort? To think we are not doing enough is so frustrating and guilt inducing but surely even feeling that way is a start… We can only try to improve each day and make positive steps towards making better decisions.. Even if that does in reality mean spending three weeks researching a little bit each day into the most humane and environmentaly friendly toothbrush! 😂

    My most current ethical.dillema is flower based. Trying to always source local grown foliage and flowers in a bid to avoid the uneccessary impact of air shipment and mass productions…. But….. So many exotic flowers sooo pwetty 😥! ahhhhh such a headache.!!

    Keep posting the good stuff :)


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