Fake fur is poisoning the environment with micro plastic particles, a new report has found.
The analysis carried out by independent experts from the Organic Waste Systems laboratory in Ghent, Belgium, has found that fake fur is toxic to the environment.
World-leading specialists in biodegradability and compostability stated that synthetic fibers found in fake fur do not biodegrade and are toxic to natural habitats and animals.
Experts examined how both real and fake fur degraded in conditions set up to mimic closed landfill conditions.
Natural fur samples biodegraded swiftly, starting to disintegrate within days as microorganisms consumed the carbon inside the fur.
But fake fur showed no biodegradation at all. The bacteria was not able to consume plastic, therefore it was impossible to measure any bio gas production. According to the researchers, this was not unexpected due to the composition of the synthetic fibers.
In addition, synthetic fur materials are also known to break down into ever-smaller pieces, eventually forming microplast fibers—a major contributor to plastic pollution.
The tests 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.
For example mink fur biodegrades at the average rate of 25.8%, while fake fur biodegrades at the rate of 0.3%.
Mark Oaten, CEO of the International Fur Federation said: “Fake fur has been promoted as the sustainable alternative to natural fur, but in reality, it is highly polluting. An ethic concerned with the protection of individual animals is pointless if the ecosystem where the animals live is destroyed”. “Brands like Gucci and Versace should think again about ending their use of fur - if they really care about sustainability they should read this study - it clearly shows that natural fur is less harmful than fake when it comes to landfill. Anybody who wants to support sustainable fashion should think about the long-term impact of using plastic based products that will stay in landfill for decades, but as this study shows the natural fur begins to biodegrade within days.”
The findings come as many consumer brands ditch plastic in an attempt to protect the planet and save natural habitats.