It gets pretty chilly in England, and so it’s good know where to find a good winter coat. A good purchase can last you years. You obviously don’t want to wear fur. But vegans don’t wear wool (sheep usually need shearing but there are other issues. Some are sheared too early leading to hypothermia, some are ‘mulesed’ (chunks of skin cut away without painkiller). And many are killed, when wool production slows. If you wear wool, choose companies that guaranteed sheep are not sent to slaughter.
We could also do with a charity like the USA’s One Warm Coat, where people donate unwanted winter coats at locations locally, in order to give them out to those in need. For any coats that include recycled polyester, wash in a Guppyfriend (to stop microplastics escaping from the machine, into the sea). Or if they need to be dry-cleaned, use eco-steam brands like London’s Blanc.
Rapanui (above and below) make water-repellent jackets (also for men) from organic canvas. And warm organic cotton jumpers.
Seasalt sell good raincoats that are free of the usual toxic chemicals (however read the labels, as a few have leather trim). A shame because these could easily be left out: even a meat-eater is going to care, if the leather trim is replaced by cotton or hemp.
Is Recycled Plastic Safe to Wear?
Probably, though it’s not good to wash in the machine, as it releases microplastics (use a Guppyfriend to catch some of the fibres, but it won’t catch all of them). But items that are wipe-clean are a good way to use up plastic waste, like shower macs.
Regarding concerns on plastic next to your skin, Dr Martin Mulvihill says that it takes 38 days of a water bottle being heated to reach unsafe levels for water you ingest (not fabric on your skin). So he says unless you are working out in 150 degrees, wearing recycled plastic clothing is not likely to be a problem. A lot of yoga clothing is made from recycled plastic, so be aware of this if you do ‘hot yoga’, which involves working out in a very hot room.
Where recycled plastic items are good, are for things that you don’t wash. If you use it up to use items that you wipe clean (don’t put in the washing machine), then indeed it is a good idea. So things like umbrellas, for instance. You aren’t going to do anything with them but keep them in an umbrella stand, so this is a good choice.