Is Nylon Vegan And Sustainable?

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 11/03/22 •  9 min read

Is nylon vegan and sustainable? This is a question every ethical shopper asks when buying new clothes. Here are nylon pros and cons. How will this material impact your home, the environment, animals and laborers? Let’s find out!

is nylon vegan and sustainable

Clothes are so cheap and trendy these days we buy them even when we don’t ‘need’ them. If you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure materials accommodate your needs but don’t hurt the planet, animals or others. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on whether nylon is vegan and sustainable.

You are going to learn all about nylon’s impact on animals and the planet. This will include nylon benefits for you regarding the durability, versatility and accessibility of the material. You’ll find out if nylon is sustainable and if nylon is vegan…or maybe even impacts animals in other ways!

After learning if nylon is good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you’ll be able to make the best choices you can the next time you shop.

This post is all about asking is nylon vegan and is nylon sustainable…something every ethical shopper must know.

Shop Smart! Is Nylon Vegan And Sustainable?

Home

Durability: pros nylon is strong, weather resistant, excellent stain resilience, water repellent, often added to natural fibers to boost a garment’s durability

Versatility: pros nylon is versatile, lightweight, flexible, machine wash, dries quickly | cons can build up static

Accessibility: inexpensive, prices may vary

Nylon is…

Environment

Fiber source: synthetic, nylon is a synthetic fabric and manmade

Biodegradable: no, nylon is not biodegradable, it may take up to 200 years for synthetic textiles such as nylon to decompose

Destruction: high, nylon production is destructive, micro-fibers wash off and contaminate water systems, nylon comes from petrochemicals that pollute the environment, nylon production is energy intensive and generates high levels of pollution, nylon releases nitrous oxide when manufactured, synthetic materials rely on petrochemical industries, meaning synthetic materials dependent on fossil fuel extraction

Nylon is…

Animals

Kills: none, nylon production does not require any animals to die

Harms: none, nylon production does not require any animals to be used

Indirectly kills or harms: wildlife and ecosystems, micro-fibers wash off and contaminate water systems

Nylon is…

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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 accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, 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

Nylon…

What are some ethical vegan fashion brands that use recycled nylon?

Girlfriend Collective and Naja are ethical vegan fashion brands that use recycled nylon.

What is the material abbreviation for nylon?

NY is the material abbreviation for nylon.

What is nylon made of?

Nylon is made of polyamides. In other words, carbon-based chemicals found in coal and petroleum.

So although the nylon material is vegan, its production can be harmful to wildlife and ecosystems.

nylon is durable.

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 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!

is nylon sustainable? nylon is unsustainable.

is nylon sustainable

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.

Vegan and sustainable fashion near you is easier than ever with this: Vegan Clothing Brands Per Country List

is nylon vegan? yes, nylon is vegan.

vegan-material

Is nylon vegan?

Yes, nylon is vegan. However, this material can be harmful to wildlife and ecosystems since it is made of polyamides. In other words, carbon-based chemicals found in coal and petroleum.

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:

These materials often come from places like India and China where there can be NO animal welfare laws or enforcement. But 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 there is confinement, disease and animals 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. In regards to wool or feathers, animals struggle while workers hold them down and beat them in order to shear their coat or rip feathers from skin. This leaves them bloody and wounded in pain. 

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

nylon is a product 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 experience 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. 

So, is nylon vegan and sustainable? Yes, nylon is vegan but can harm animals like wildlife and ecosystems because it is relatively unsustainable.

This post was all about answering if is nylon vegan and sustainable.

Sources:

Sew Guide: Fabric glossary
Textile School: Textile fabric types
slow fashion: sustainable vs. unsustainable fabrics
The Spruce: Types of fabric A to Z: What are you wearing?
EDGE Fast Fact | Non-Biodegradable Clothes Take 20 to 200 Years to Biodegrade
The real cost of your clothes: These are the fabrics with the best and worst environmental impact
Grandview Research: Synthetic Leather Market Worth $40.9 Billion By 2027 | CAGR: 4.4%

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.

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