Is Fleece Vegan + Sustainable?

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 11/11/22 •  9 min read

Is fleece vegan and sustainable? These are questions every ethical consumer asks. Here is how buying fleece will impact you, the environment, animals and laborers. 

is fleece vegan and sustainable

Fabric, materials and textiles are things we consume often. If you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on fleece.

You are going to learn all about fleece’s vegan and sustainability status. Additionally, the following info will include fleece advantages and disadvantages for your home, whether fleece is a natural fiber, biodegradable…or perhaps even destructive!

After learning if fleece is vegan and sustainable you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you shop.

This post is all about learning if fleece is vegan and sustainable.

Is Fleece Vegan And Sustainable?

HOME

Versatility: pros fleece is soft, fuzzy, comfortable, insulating warm, used for coats, hats, sweats, hoodies, the lining of some clothes, jackets, dresses, sportswear, and sweaters
Affordability: prices may vary

Fleece is…

ENVIRONMENT

Fiber source: natural or semi-synthetic, fleece may be a natural or synthetic fiber, fleece is often made from wool, a fiber from sheered animals such as sheep, may also be made of cotton, cotton/polyester, or acrylic

Biodegradable: yes or no, fleece may or may not be biodegradable depending on fiber, if wool is untreated with chemicals, it is 100% biodegradable in a span of 1-5 years based on the techniques adopted to convert it into fiber, if it is 100% cotton, when composting cotton may biodegrade within as little as 1 week but average decomposition times are around 5 months

Destruction: low or high, fleece production may or may not be destructive, if made from wool it is relatively destructive, toxic chemicals are commonly used to preserve wool and fur and when poorly managed or discharged pollute waterways and cause devastating pollution, wool that is not organic is dipped in toxic chemicals to ward off ticks/lice, toxins from animal excrement pollute air, water, soil, high CO2e carbon emitted, strain on natural resources such as land, food and water, contributes to deforestation, with the large number of animals unnaturally bred onto the planet in the name of human utilization, specifically ruminants (cows, sheep, goats, deer, camels, etc.), they emit high volumes of carbon emissions and contaminate air, water, soil, etc., sheep hooves can cause land degradation, if made from organic cotton it is relatively sustainable, uses less water than non-organic cotton due to better quality soil, grown without harmful chemicals, pesticides or insecticides, does not contain any synthetic chemicals, metals or genetically engineered substances, organic cotton doesn’t destroy ecosystems and is known to improve soil quality

Fleece is…

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11/17/2022 03:56 pm GMT

ANIMALS

Kills: none, fleece production does not require any animals to be killed

Harms: sheep or long-haired goats, if wool is used

Indirectly kills or harms: wildlife and ecosystems if animal derived, wildlife considered to be “threats” to sheep leads to landowners killing kangaroos and coyotes, permitted by law, resulting in millions slaughtered every year by ranchers and the federal government  

Fleece is…

Fleece is…

LABORERS

Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always be accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers often deal with exploitation, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Fleece…

What are some ethical vegan fashion brands that use fleece?

Delikate Rayne is an ethical vegan fashion brand that uses cotton fleece.

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11/17/2022 02:15 pm GMT

fleece is…

durable, long lasting fabrics, materials and textiles

For every 5 garments produced, the equivalent of 3 end up in a landfill or incinerated each year!

One reason for such wastefulness is society’s ever growing desire to acquire. Fast fashion (creating low-priced items at high volumes) is problematic for a number of reasons and promotes the attitude that clothing is nearly disposable.

But another component of such a quick turnaround on clothing is because it’s just not lasting long enough. Snags, stains, warping and shrinkage render items unusable and unacceptable for the  donation pile. Avoid such problems by buying better quality, more durable, long lasting materials. Timeless wardrobe favorites that last for years and years are more sustainable and reduce the need for replacements. 

Every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck full of textiles burns or goes to landfills…

Keep minimalism in mind and buy less, borrow and buy items second hand. Thrift shops offer many inexpensive, unique finds that have already proven to stand the test of time!

fleece is unsustainable if wool or synthetic fibers and sustainable if 100% organic cotton.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Materials from animals are natural fibers and biodegradable unless heavily treated with chemicals. However, they are not at all eco-friendly or sustainable due to the overwhelming strain on natural resources; the water needed, food needed and land usage that must happen for such abundant amounts of animals to live.

With the high number of animals unnaturally bred onto the planet in the name of human utilization, specifically ruminants (cows, sheep, goats, deer, camels, etc.), they emit high volumes of carbon emissions and contaminate air, soil and water with their waste (excrement). This is also toxic to ecosystems and wildlife. 

Animal agriculture is not good for the environment, human health and of course, the animals themselves. Thus, animal derived, non-vegan materials are not only cruel and inhumane but environmentally unsustainable. 

That’s not to say that all vegan materials are sustainable. There are many vegan yet unsustainable fabrics, materials and textiles. Most of us don’t realize that washing one synthetic garment releases about 2,000 plastic microfibers which then enter the ocean and food chain…or that 30% of rayon and viscose used in fashion comes from endangered and ancient forests. So because a fabric is vegan it does not necessarily mean that it is sustainable, eco-friendly and so on. 

Natural fibers like cotton are actually really harmful IF they are not organic. How? Cotton seeds are often GMOs that require pesticides, which are extremely toxic! In fact, up to 16% of the world’s pesticides go to non-organic, GMO cotton farming every year. The chemicals degrade soil and pollute water as well as poison cotton pickers.

Wow! …So it’s time to start using sustainable fabrics, materials and textiles.

Read more about ‘What Makes Fabric Sustainable Or Unsustainable?’

fleece may or may not be vegan.

vegan-material

Cows, sheep, alpacas, goats, ducks and foxes are animals commonly subject to exploitation for their skins, hair or feathers. In fact, BILLIONS of them die every single year simply in the name of fashion. 

Before buying a pair of shoes, a sweater, a purse, check the materials. Common and unfortunately popular animal-derived materials include leather, suede, fur, feathers, mohair and wool -which often come from places like India and China where there can be NO animal welfare laws or enforcement. If the item does come from a more developed area of the world, such as the United States or Europe, that animal was likely a victim of factory farming. In such overcrowded farms they are confined, diseased and must sometimes live their entire lives indoors, never seeing the light of day.

Material from animals may involve slaughtering like leather and fur production, for instance. But in regards to wool or feathers, animals struggle as they are held down and beaten by workers while sheared or as feathers are ripped from their skin. This leaves them bloody and wounded in pain. 

Buying vegan clothing, accessories and household fabrics, materials and textiles ensures that no living being had to suffer or die needlessly. Vegan fashion is trending like never before! According to Grand View Research, “The global synthetic leather market size is expected to reach $40.0 billion dollars (USD) by the year 2027”!

Dressing and decorating vegan is easier than ever with this: Vegan Fabrics, Materials and Textiles List

fleece is a material that may or may not have labor issues.

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Did you know that the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? Whether agriculture involves crops or animals, the labor behind each and every product made from cotton, leather, wool, etc. cannot go unrecognized. 

Sadly, many labor concerns exist around the world in both developed and developing countries. We must be vigilant to ensure what we buy is not contributing to industries that are unfair to their valuable workers.

Some known problems include workplace health and safety, sweatshops and child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even face harassment, humiliation and violence. Unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives simply by being mindful to buy items that are certified fair trade. 

This post was all about whether fleece is vegan and sustainable. 

Sources:

Sew Guide: Fabric glossary
Textile School: Textile fabric types
PETA: Environmental Hazards of Wool
Cotton, the fabric of our lives, fleece
The Spruce: Types of fabric A to Z: What are you wearing?
Grandview Research: Synthetic Leather Market Worth $40.9 Billion By 2027 | CAGR: 4.4%

Adriane Marie

Grocery Guru, Material Maven, Conscious Consumer Connoisseur. I organize ethical info for us to comprehensively see how purchases impact people, animals and the planet. I hope you find HEALabel helpful! Use it for personal and global improvement and empowerment.

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