View Full Version : Using old leather and other non-vegan products

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Black Cat
Jul 16th, 2004, 06:41 AM
Hi everyone. I'm new to this forum, and to veganism. I am researching all the benefits of being vegan. I would like an opinion from all vegans....I have some products that are definetly not vegan-friendly, (shoes, make-up, soaps, etc.) is it ok to still use these products once I become full vegan? Thanks!! :)

Black Cat

Jul 16th, 2004, 08:07 AM
Personally, I do have some old stuff that I bought before I was a vegan, for example, leather shoes. But I have not bought any since.

Jul 16th, 2004, 09:22 AM
From Being Vegan by Joanne Stephaniak

What to Do With Nonvegan Items?

You are correct in thinking that wearing animal products, such as leather sandals, would appear hypocritical and could easily send a distorted message about veganism to others. To avoid wastefulness, some vegans wear their old nonvegan items only in the seclusion of their own home and put on their "veganwear" when they are out in public. This addresses the issue of frugality on two levels: utilizing what is already owned and extending the life of one's vegan products through prudent use. However, many vegans find wearing animal-based commodities to be ethically and emotionally excruciating and they cannot bear to don them even in private. Consequently, each vegan must determine her or his own threshold of tolerance and make choices based on individual need and economic circumstance.

There are many creative and practical ways to dispose of animal-based commodities such as yard sales, consignment shops, thrift stores, shelters, gifts to nonvegan friends or relatives, and so forth. Some vegans donate the proceeds from the sale of their nonvegan items to animal rights organizations; others use the profits to purchase vegan replacements.

Nonperishable foodstuffs can be donated to food banks, shelters, or public kitchens. Even if these organizations don't generally deal in vegetarian/vegan fare, they are usually very grateful for donations of any kind and will put them to good use.

If you feel you cannot part with your pre-vegan commodities right now, then hold onto them until you are prepared to let them go. When you are ready, you will be able to devise imaginative and serviceable ways to discard them. I think you'll find that releasing the final remnants of death from your home is an incredibly liberating experience -- one filled with unfettered joy and the satisfaction of no longer needing to justify apparent conflicts of conscience.

Jul 16th, 2004, 10:41 AM
I have some products that are definetly not vegan-friendly, (shoes, make-up, soaps, etc.) is it ok to still use these products once I become full vegan? Thanks!! :) Black Cat

You have to decide for yourself what is "ok". Are non-vegan things vegan? No. Does anyone in modern society live a truly 100% vegan existance? Only if one never drives in a car, never makes use of modern film and medical equipment and so on...animal products are in nearly everything!

As a vegan, for me anyway, the most important focus is to minimalize the use of animal products in what I consume/buy directly in ways I can control. Therefore I do not use any foods or body or household items with animal products in them.

I do still drive a car, which is not "vegan". But, I am doing the best I can! I know that I do more good towards furthering knowledge about the environment and veganism, health and natural nutritional healing with the use of my car than I could ever get done otherwise. However, my partner and I have given up 2 vehicles and share a single one in an effort to simplify and be in integrity. For me, it's all about balance and doing everything in your power to make the best choices for you, the planet and other live creatures.

Jul 17th, 2004, 01:20 AM
I reached a point w some things where it bothered me and I gave them away to my sister or found something to do w them. Anything that directly tests products on animals... even though pre vegan days... I gave away or threw out. Of course I have other products I bought from companies whom I now question .... once they are gone I doubt I'll be buying anything they make again... unless they stop testing on animals and come up w a more vegan/veg friendly line.

It's very much a personal choice thing. It's really really important to remember that at all times (!) and not let anyone pressure you into making choices you're not ready to make! Why do that and then revert back or continue to question things by making a choice not your own. I'm not personally comfortable adopting things I haven't researched or come to a firm/logical decision.... lifetime choices and more permanent decisions that is... I've made plenty of short term choices... and well decisions... but that's experimentation... and other things... and doesn't apply to something you're making as a more permanent choice/commitment.

Different people will tell you different things (very redundant cliche that's very true...). So, decide for yourself what your level of comfort is. You're taking a major step by consciously choosing to change old habits and by giving up animal products. Do it on your own time. You're making a big difference through that choice... that's good in itself... everything else will come w time and as you become more aware of alternatives.... what other products are about and where they are sourced... etc etc.

Jul 17th, 2004, 05:51 AM
It is true you cvannot be completely vegan, but the whole meaning of being vegan is trying as much and as hard as you can to reduce and get rid of suffering in the world.

With things like driving, think about the outcome, as it may overweigh the content of the car and such. Like if you have to rescue or do something that will help many beings. Sometimes driving will be more efficient, but you can always use a bus or rollerblades or bike, though tires do contain animal products.

With things like leather and such, as stated before, they can generate the view to others that it is OK to wear and use them, or the view that vegans can use them/are hypocritical and such.

Jul 17th, 2004, 11:38 AM
The main thing in my opinion is to work towards ending the slaughter and closing the abattoirs. When that happens, we won't have to be concerned about whether there are animal products in particular foods or objects, because farmers and manufacturers will have to find some more compassionate way to run their businesses. Meanwhile, we boycott the killing business by not eating meat,fish,dairy, eggs etc, and not buying leather, fur, silk etc. I'm not about to give up my car although I realise there are some animal products in its manufacture, and sometimes new or wannabe vegans can get really confused about eating something that may have a minute fraction of something that may be from an animal source. Each of us can only do what is right for us.

Jul 17th, 2004, 01:43 PM
I personally used up all consumable things like makeup and toiletries. I figured that they were bought anyway so may as well use them.

When my gran died I inherited a really nice overcoat with a hood that was trimmed with (I assumed) fake fur. I wore it for about 18 months before I thought it was probably time to wash it (the hood detached) and the washing instructions said "remove blue fox fur before washing"!). I felt sick when I read that - I'd been going round wearing real fur, how much less vegan can you get. But then I figured that everyone I know knows I am a commited vegan so I may as well carry on getting use out of the coat. I carried on wearing it that winter, with the fur, because I wasn't sure what to do with it, but have since detached it from the coat. Still don't know what to do with it, really. I guess just throw it away.

I ended up just throwing away my leather shoes after a couple of years of being vegan and not wanting to wear them so they just sat there.

Black Cat
Jul 17th, 2004, 10:59 PM
Thanks for all of your opinions! I suppose I'll just use up most of my make-up, shampoo, soap, etc. I just won't purchase anymore non-vegan products. I've found some great cosmetics that are pure vegan. ;) I appreciate all of your ideas!!

Jul 19th, 2004, 12:37 AM
For me, veganism is not the only issue I care about; I like to try and keep a big-picture perspective on things. I still have and wear my pre-vegan leather boots, for example, because they're still usable and I find it wasteful to give them up and get a vegan pair because even though vegan boots are on the principle better, they still use up resources. Same thing for my wallet; it was a present 12 years ago (apparently a well-made brand) and it still serves me well. Despite the fact it's leather, I'm going to hang on to it until it falls apart before I get a vegan one. I try to reduce my environmental footprint (hah!) as much as possible by using everything up to its usefulness, not wasting anything, recycling, buying used, etc.

Jul 24th, 2004, 11:19 AM
If i find out a product i'm using is not Vegan or the company is animal testing i will finishing using the product as i can't afford not to and use that time to find a new Vegan sorce of that type of product

Jul 29th, 2004, 06:45 PM
i think the worst thing you can do would be to just throw it away. whether its leather, silk, wool, soap etc. you should use it as much as possible before you throw it away. i would suggest if you have a non-vegan friend or family member who can wear any non-vegan clothes you have than you could give it to them. you could also donate certain things to shelters or thrift stores, or you could have a yard sale and use the money to replace your things with vegan ones. I am in the same boat as you. I still have loads of most likely non-vegan bath stuff, makeup, nail stuff and probably some shoes and belts. I decided i will replace personal care items as i use them with ones i know are vegan. it is not possible to be 100% vegan in this society when film is not vegan and even about 25% of sugar is processed with bone char. But you have to do the best you can day by day. dont eat meat, eggs, dairy or honey. Dont use products that are made from animal products or that test on animals. dont use any leather, wool, or silk. Use up all your non vegan products and then replace them. Otherwise the animal was tortured/died for nothing. Decide from now on not to buy anymore non vegan items and stick to it. Thats the best you can do.

Aug 1st, 2004, 03:52 PM
i'm using up all of my old non-vegan stuff - i'll get rid of it and then not buy it again!

Aug 2nd, 2004, 06:52 PM
I'm such an idiot. I really thought that ecological leather wasn't leather. You know, just as gardenburgers are not from meat. Yeah, right. I just found this web site about how their (ecological) leather comes from animals that are slaughtered for their meat and not for their skin. Argh! The thing is that when I bought those shoes, I specifically asked the assistant if they were leather, and she said that no, they are ecological leather. So I assumed... Fine. My mother can wear them if she wants, but I'm never putting them on again. And from now on, I'm only buying shoes online!

Aug 2nd, 2004, 11:15 PM
I've seen products that say "no animal ingedients" and then have beeswax in the ingredients list. I would probably feel worse if I bought leather shoes though. That's messed up. Can't you return them?

Aug 3rd, 2004, 01:01 AM
No, I can't return them because I didn't buy them all that recently. But I just hate when such things happen. I mean, it's not as though I didn't ask if it was leather or not...

Aug 12th, 2004, 05:07 PM
You should have asked for the money back then. If she said no when you asked if it was leather, you should get the money back....

Oct 3rd, 2004, 12:42 PM
What did everyone do about their leather shoes when they became vegan ?

I don't have any leather bags, belts or any other item of clothing, but I really can't afford to throw away all my shoes.

Also, are any of these on line vegan shoe sites any good? I am a bit worried about getting the sizing right and if I like the shoes when I get them. Otherwise I am quite happy to never buy leather shoes again.

How about wool too? I am wearing all my old jumpers etc, but where do you buy non wool items that will keep you warm?

Thank you for your help to this newby vegan!


Oct 3rd, 2004, 12:52 PM
Ordering shoes online can be a bit iffy what with the size thing and all. Depending where you are, try and get to a vegan fayre or the xmas without cruelty ( see uk forum ) where there will be several shoe reatilers.

Oct 3rd, 2004, 03:00 PM
I happened to buy a coat from JCrew before I even thought about becoming a vegan that was 100% cotton. It's probably not as warm as a coat that has wool in it, but it's sufficient, and it's also not itchy!

Jackets w/o wool are easy to find.

I usually buy my business attire in the spring, summer, and fall, because now that winter has rolled around, the companies that I usually shop at are adding the cruelty products left and right.

Good luck with everything!

Oct 3rd, 2004, 03:45 PM
Hello - I think I wore out the leather shoes I still had, couldn't see the point of doing otherwise (although I know others disagree). I now get most of mine from Vegetarian Shoes in Brighton - I have bought enough from there that I can now buy them over the phone (seems to be more reliable than the web site in their case) and they can tell me what size I need in a particular style by referring to what I've had in the past, if you see what I mean. It's probably easier if you can get to their shop in person the first time.

I also buy some shoes from chain stores - the cheaper ones like BHS quite often have shoes made of microfibre (though some people won't buy these as you can't be sure what they are using for glue etc).

To keep warm in winter I wear cotton jumpers with layers underneath, including cotton t-shirts and, when it's really cold, thermal underwear. I find this is pretty effective insulation - the only problem is that the thermal underwear, because it's synthetic I suppose, generates a lot of static.

Coats are a bit harder but you can sometimes find coats made of velvet or (again) microfibre which are fairly warm.

Oct 3rd, 2004, 05:24 PM
I think my coat was described as fleece, but it is 100% cotton.

Oct 3rd, 2004, 05:56 PM
I don't have many pairs of shoes, actually I'm overdue for some new ones so maybe I'll get a non-leather pair at the Bristol vegan fayre if they're being sold. I suppose I could buy a cheap new wallet in the process. I don't actually think I have any wool jumpers - the stuff makes me itch like hell. I've still got a few more animal product clothes but I don't have the money to replace everything at once.

Oct 3rd, 2004, 08:15 PM
I still have one pair of leather walking boots that I can't throw out yet, I have not got the time to break in new ones before my next trek and the cost of the new ones would come hard at the mo. I think that once you become vegan it is still a long transition. Not many folk can afford to replace everything that is non animal friendly, even if we want to.

Oct 4th, 2004, 12:11 PM
Many vegans I know either used up their old products or gave them to charity if they were in the fiancial situation to do so - I was not so I had an old pair of boots I used for hunt sabbing.

As for veggie shoes in Brighton the footware is really well made and of good quality, the coats are very good as well.

As for the other online comapnys I have not shopped with them for clothing, stuff like trainers are easy to buy vegan Vans do a range of vegan trainers as do new balance.

Also if you can shop online at overseas dealers I have had some good stuff from them.