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Old 10-11-2008, 04:19 AM
 
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fake fur is just as warm as real fur. as for the argument about biodegradable:

....and far from being a green alternative, fur farming also involves environmental pollution.
According to a study by the University of Michigan, the energy needed to produce a real fur coat from ranch-raised animal skins is 20 times that required for a fake product. The chemicals applied to real fur to prevent it rotting make it no more biodegradable than synthetic rivals.
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Old 10-11-2008, 10:20 AM
 
Location: The Woods
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floridasandy View Post
fake fur is just as warm as real fur. as for the argument about biodegradable:

....and far from being a green alternative, fur farming also involves environmental pollution.
According to a study by the University of Michigan, the energy needed to produce a real fur coat from ranch-raised animal skins is 20 times that required for a fake product. The chemicals applied to real fur to prevent it rotting make it no more biodegradable than synthetic rivals.
Not really, at severe subzero temperatures. Real fur is superior.

There are many different ways fur is tanned, some are green some are not. Traditional natural tanning methods for instance are. The final product is biodegradable, even if the non-green methods are used. Fake fur, fleece, nylon and so forth will never be biodregadable. That study you mentioned takes into account everything from the cages used at mink farms to feed to the labor and time put into drying and stretching the pelts. If you look into what goes into synthetic production, from the oil extraction and refining, to transporting it from the middle east, to being made into whatever the final product is, you'll see there's a lot that goes into it. If you looked at sheep farming for wool, or cotton farming, you'd see similar issues emerge. 3 fake fur jackets require about a gallon of crude oil, a non-renewable resource. Nylon production releases incredible amounts of nitrous oxide (a poisonous greenhouse gas) into the atmosphere. Then there's the crude oil extraction, transportation and refining itself: land destroyed by it, air pollution, water pollution from oil spills, etc.
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Old 10-11-2008, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Camberville
11,979 posts, read 16,700,390 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctichomesteader View Post
Not really, at severe subzero temperatures. Real fur is superior.
And how many people in the US are ever exposed to severe subzero temperatures? My wool jacket is just fine in Boston. I see more fur in my family's suburban neighborhood in Atlanta- where there is ABSOLUTELY no reason- than I ever do in Boston.
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Old 10-11-2008, 12:18 PM
 
Location: The Woods
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charolastra00 View Post
And how many people in the US are ever exposed to severe subzero temperatures? My wool jacket is just fine in Boston. I see more fur in my family's suburban neighborhood in Atlanta- where there is ABSOLUTELY no reason- than I ever do in Boston.
I've been at 30 or more below in Northern VT. My rabbit fur hat was nice at those temps. I'll be where it gets to 50 or 60 below at times in Alaska. Fur as I've been saying is better than synthetic materials for the environment anyways...
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Old 10-11-2008, 09:17 PM
 
Location: Billings, MT
9,522 posts, read 7,777,554 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charolastra00 View Post
And how many people in the US are ever exposed to severe subzero temperatures? My wool jacket is just fine in Boston. I see more fur in my family's suburban neighborhood in Atlanta- where there is ABSOLUTELY no reason- than I ever do in Boston.
I see temps in the minus 20 to minus 30 range here many times during the winter. My sheepskin coat is FAR superior to any other coat (except real Canadian Down) at those temps.
The Hudson Bay Seal coat my wife has )that was handed down from my grandmother to my mother to my wife) is also a LOT warmer than any synthetic.
Of course you don't see fur in Boston, isn't that where PETA is?
We have PETA here, too, except around here it is known as People Eating Tasty Animals.
The OTHER PETA can stay in the big cities. We don't want them here.
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Old 10-11-2008, 10:09 PM
 
Location: Tucson AZ & Leipzig, Germany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjtee View Post
I was always against fur until I lived in Russia. My goodness, that was one butt-chapping cold place. First, I tried wool and synthetic coats. Wool wasn't warm enough. The synthetics were okay, but my friends made fun of me. So, being a youngster, I bowed to peer pressure and found a funky fur coat in a second hand store. Now, that was the greatest coat. I finally got why the Russians wore fur.
Fjtee, I lived in western Siberia for about a year while working a contract job in the oil field region. I had a heavy down synthetic parka upon arrival which I knew was good for cold weather, but I had never lived in a place with several months of sustained temps that were -20F/-30C and often colder. The down coat will keep you plenty warm with a few layers of thin and medium wool underneath. One difference in extreme cold climates is that real fur outer coats breathe better than synthetic down and your wool layers underneath stay dryer, meaning you stay warmer. Most synthetic coats have nylon or goretex like waterproof shells (causing sweat when moving around a lot). In extreme cold like most of Russia or most of central Canada or interior Alaska or northern plains of US, the air is often quite dry so the fur doesn't absorb much moisture from the air. After about a month living in the extreme cold in Siberia, I got a fur hat and a fur coat. It made me blend in with the locals and I never got stopped for an ID check while walking around in any city (back in the USSR days). And it was incredible how much time I spent walking around outdoors in that fur coat in waaay below zero temps with almost the same comfort level as if it were +75 F.
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Old 10-12-2008, 03:15 PM
f_m
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctichomesteader View Post
The final product is biodegradable, even if the non-green methods are used. Fake fur, fleece, nylon and so forth will never be biodregadable.
Yes, but that actually happens to be where synthetic fabric works well. Normally, plastic parts are no good when they break, and will not degrade, but fabric doesn't "break" so it will be usable 50 years from now, 100+ years from now, performing the same function as it did the first day it was made. These fabrics require little care, they can be thrown in the washing machine and dryer and don't require special storage care and cleaning. So over a long period of time they provide more function with less care. The fact that they cost less is indicative of the resources required to manufacture them. If it was costly to make (i.e. used a lot of resources) then they would cost a lot more. However, due to the economy of scale from high tech production methods, they cost less than fur items. Fur items are all one off and have to be hand processed and gathered. They may be more suitable for some extreme conditions, but the majority of the world doesn't need that.

There are many advantages to the synthetics. Hypoallergenic, lightweight, less bulk, easy care, waterproof/resistant types, fire resistant types. Most of the pictures of people going to Everest, etc... are using some kind of synthetic materials (water-resistance and low weight is very useful), although possibly in combination with natural insulating materials.

BTW, "nitrous oxide" is a chemical used for many purposes including "laughing gas" so it can't really be too poisonous. I'm not much of a fan of wikipedia, but:

"The livestock sector (primarily cows, chickens, and pigs) produces 65% of human-related nitrous oxide. [1] Industrial sources make up only about 20% of all anthropogenic sources, and include the production of nylon and nitric acid, and the burning of fossil fuel in internal combustion engines. Human activity is thought to account for somewhat less than 2 teragrams of nitrogen oxides per year, nature for over 15 teragrams.[2]"
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Old 10-12-2008, 07:39 PM
 
Location: The Woods
16,935 posts, read 22,198,202 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f_m View Post
Yes, but that actually happens to be where synthetic fabric works well. Normally, plastic parts are no good when they break, and will not degrade, but fabric doesn't "break" so it will be usable 50 years from now, 100+ years from now, performing the same function as it did the first day it was made. These fabrics require little care, they can be thrown in the washing machine and dryer and don't require special storage care and cleaning. So over a long period of time they provide more function with less care. The fact that they cost less is indicative of the resources required to manufacture them. If it was costly to make (i.e. used a lot of resources) then they would cost a lot more. However, due to the economy of scale from high tech production methods, they cost less than fur items. Fur items are all one off and have to be hand processed and gathered. They may be more suitable for some extreme conditions, but the majority of the world doesn't need that.

There are many advantages to the synthetics. Hypoallergenic, lightweight, less bulk, easy care, waterproof/resistant types, fire resistant types. Most of the pictures of people going to Everest, etc... are using some kind of synthetic materials (water-resistance and low weight is very useful), although possibly in combination with natural insulating materials.

BTW, "nitrous oxide" is a chemical used for many purposes including "laughing gas" so it can't really be too poisonous. I'm not much of a fan of wikipedia, but:

"The livestock sector (primarily cows, chickens, and pigs) produces 65% of human-related nitrous oxide. [1] Industrial sources make up only about 20% of all anthropogenic sources, and include the production of nylon and nitric acid, and the burning of fossil fuel in internal combustion engines. Human activity is thought to account for somewhat less than 2 teragrams of nitrogen oxides per year, nature for over 15 teragrams.[2]"
Interesting that not being biodregadable is now a good thing. But in any case, they've been cheaper with cheap oil. That just isn't going to last. Synthetics don't last forever as far being useable (they may be around almost forever but not usefully). I've experienced fleece, for example, rather unexpectedly losing its warmth and becoming useless. Other materials will get worn (torn, abrasions, etc.) to where they're useless and they can't be repaired. These synthetic items do end up in landfills in high numbers every year, that's a fact. Fur is pretty lightweight. That's actually one thing I like about it, warm, and relatively light (compared to, say, wool). And as one other poster noted, it breathes so you don't retain sweat. Getting wet from sweat in low temperatures can kill you, literally. You must remain dry in real cold weather. I haven't had too much trouble washing/taking care of my fur hats though I'm sure some items are more work, and some furs are more delicate than others. Otter fur is very tough stuff, for example.

I believe a study showed that around 50 percent of the UK's nitrous oxide output comes from nylon production. I'd have to hunt that down again though to verify it. Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas, and is much, much more effective at trapping heat than CO2 despite the greater attention CO2 gets. There are some potential health effects from too much exposure to it. It's actually mixed with oxygen when used for laughing gas. In any case, it's only one detail of synthetics production that demonstrates they aren't good for the environment.
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Old 10-13-2008, 03:39 PM
 
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Default Fur vs. fake fur

Excellent discussion thread going on. For a compelling ecological argument in favor of one type of fur (not farmed, invasive species, amazing fur qualities), check out www.Eco-LuxuryFur.com. They soon will be carrying "near cashmere" accessories--scarves, hats, gloves, throws, etc. made of fur spun with merino wool. Washable, biodegradable, etc. Oh, and get this: The only other alternative for ridding New Zealand of this invasive species involves carpet bombing the country aerially with a poison banned from US federal lands since 1972. Not only is the chemical (1080) ecologically and environmentally suspect, but it causes an inhumane death for the targeted animal (Paihamu) and all other animals.
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Old 10-14-2008, 01:31 AM
f_m
 
2,289 posts, read 7,514,841 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctichomesteader View Post
Interesting that not being biodregadable is now a good thing. But in any case, they've been cheaper with cheap oil. That just isn't going to last. Synthetics don't last forever as far being useable (they may be around almost forever but not usefully). I've experienced fleece, for example, rather unexpectedly losing its warmth and becoming useless. Other materials will get worn (torn, abrasions, etc.) to where they're useless and they can't be repaired. These synthetic items do end up in landfills in high numbers every year, that's a fact. Fur is pretty lightweight. That's actually one thing I like about it, warm, and relatively light (compared to, say, wool). And as one other poster noted, it breathes so you don't retain sweat. Getting wet from sweat in low temperatures can kill you, literally. You must remain dry in real cold weather. I haven't had too much trouble washing/taking care of my fur hats though I'm sure some items are more work, and some furs are more delicate than others. Otter fur is very tough stuff, for example.

I believe a study showed that around 50 percent of the UK's nitrous oxide output comes from nylon production. I'd have to hunt that down again though to verify it. Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas, and is much, much more effective at trapping heat than CO2 despite the greater attention CO2 gets. There are some potential health effects from too much exposure to it. It's actually mixed with oxygen when used for laughing gas. In any case, it's only one detail of synthetics production that demonstrates they aren't good for the environment.
Well, as you are aware, the recommendations of various fur companies are that the furs should be properly stored and cleaned on a regular basis. This is not something most people would want to do, or would remember to do. I leave Columbia jackets sitting in the back seat of my car year after year exposed to the summer and winter with no problems. Almost all of my few dozen jackets, mainly gifts, are around 10-20 years old and pretty much new condition without any special treatment. As far as the material getting torn, it's pretty simple to then turn them into blankets or cushions, etc... like any other fabric materials, they can be turned into fillers for anything. That's a pretty simple way to recycle them. They seem perfectly useful for moving blankets, pet cushions, etc...

Almost all other plastic products are not as usable after they are broken (plastic water bottles, that the US uses over 20 billion a year, electronics/computer cases are disposed of in a few years after being obsolete (in fact, part of the EU RoHS regulations banning dangerous materials like mercury, chromium, etc... are largely due to the vast disposal of electronic products, new electronics products are required to have the "do not dispose in trash" symbol), etc...). Only the synthetic fabrics by and large are very useful decades later.

Again, I noted that the recommended gear for mountaineering is the high tech synthetics with wool/down layers, not furs. Those are obviously the more extreme conditions that clothing can be exposed to. They understand about getting wet and staying dry. I know they used to use all furs in the past, but obviously they've found the new materials are very usable, and I like being able to easily fit a full, thin, lightweight parka into a backpack.

As far as 50 percent of emission being from nylon. You need to realize that nylon is used for many things besides fabrics. There are so many other products made from nylon. To imply that the synthetic textile industry is responsible for all of that seems quite inaccurate given the other products made from nylon.

Let me point out the stats again, where the majority of the US production of nitrous oxide is from agricultural processes.
US EPA - Nitrous Oxide: Sources and Emissions

Of course it's quite possible to create reclamation processes to "catch" waste gases, which at the moment may not be feasible due to cost or lack of regulatory requirement.

According to the links you indicated, it takes 1/3 a gallon of oil to make a synthetic coat. That's a very small amount of oil given that each day a person drives to and from work, they will likely use more than that and generate more pollution than what is involved in that coat. That's why the coat provides a good return for the resources used, given its long usable life.

Fur manufacture also requires resources, as pointed out in the links you listed, so it's not like they use no resources (i.e. gas is needed to move the people and materials around from source to factory, etc...). There doesn't appear to be anything showing the actual numbers concerning resources used comparing different products, aside from the idea that "more" is used for synthetics. That's all I see being written in various article, that "more pollution" and "more resourses" are needed, but no indication that it really is notably more.
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