For eco-lovers, new study confirms fur as the sustainable choice

A scientific study just released shows natural fur biodegrading rapidly even in landfill conditions where waste is trapped without oxygen. Fake fur, on the other hand does not biodegrade at all.

European experts from the Organic Waste Systems laboratory in Ghent, Belgium, examined how real and fake fur degrade in conditions set up to mimic closed landfill conditions, known as anaerobic biodegradation. The test, which was commissioned by IFF and Fur Europe, revealed partial disintegration of natural fur over the 30-day period whereas fake fur did not show any signs of disintegration.

Samples under study included undyed mink fur, undyed fox fur, dyed mink fur, dyed fox fur and fake fur. Researchers 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.

Tia Matthews, Saga Furs Fashion Business Director, sees the scientific study as a turning point for customer perceptions of sustainable fashion:

“In the past, fake fur was promoted as the environmental alternative to natural fur, but we now know that it’s actually highly polluting. Anyone supporting fake fur should consider the long-term impact of wearing plastic, petroleum-based products that will stay in landfill for decades, while natural fur will start biodegrading in just a few days.”

The study found that natural fur samples biodegraded when microorganisms consumed the carbon inside the fur. The fake fur however, showed no biodegradation due to the composition of synthetic fibres, which are known to eventually break down into ever smaller pieces, forming the microplast fibres that contribute to plastic pollution.

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