THE head of an inquiry into the fashion industry says that fake fur should be re-labelled “plastic fur” because it takes hundreds of years to biodegrade and is made from fossil fuels.
UK MP Mary Creagh, chairwoman of the Commons environmental audit committee, said that shoppers should avoid fake fur.
She said: “We need to start calling it plastic fur, not fake fur. We need to take plastic out of clothing because it’s a carbon intensive product.”
Ms. Creagh said that all clothing made from synthetic fabrics posed problems, with a study showing that more than 700,000 fibers thinner than a human hair were flushed into drains from a single washing machine load of polyester or acrylic clothing.
Fake fur, also known as faux fur, has become increasingly popular as shoppers seek an alternative to real fur. Social media is full of images of celebrities such as the model Gisele Bündchen wearing fake-fur coats.
Many cheap clothing brands have introduced fake-fur products made from acrylic or polyester, which mimic the look and feel of the real thing but cost a fraction of the price.
Ms. Creagh also wants shoppers to reject natural fur. She added: “We should be rejecting animal fur because of cruelty and fake fur because it sheds plastic microfibers and is made from fossil fuels. A lot of big retailers and brands have removed animal fur from their products but simply replaced it with plastics. We also need to know much more about how plastic fur breaks off around us, how it can affect our breathing and how it can break down into micro-plastic particles just by being worn.”
She said shoppers should also ask questions about the source of “vegan leather”, which might be made from natural materials but could also be plastic.
“The word vegan in itself is no guarantee of best practice,” she added.