Over the years, we’ve created numerous guides to help you have a happy Veganuary. Whether you’re asking yourself: What is Veganuary? Or if you’re wondering how do I become Vegan? We’ve got you covered! So this year, we decided to write something a little different for Veganuary. We’re going to help you make simple product swaps so you can embrace veganism across all aspects of your life.
When people think about becoming vegan, they often think about food substitutes so they can still enjoy their favourite meals, but with a vegan twist. The vegan industry is booming and it shows no signs of stopping. According to The Vegan Society, the meat and dairy alternatives market will be worth €7.5 billion in Europe (including the UK) by 2025. This is almost double the €4.4 billion it was worth in 2019.
But plant-based alternatives aren’t just for vegans. The increasingly broad range of products available are gaining a wider audience. The Vegan Society has found research that suggests 92% of plant-based meals consumed in the UK were eaten by non-vegans in 2018. Being able to eat a nutritionally rich and balanced vegan diet is not as challenging as it used to be.
But veganism is not just about food.
Veganism, in its purest form, is the avoidance of all animal-based products. A quick Google search of ‘surprising non-vegan products’ brings up a host of articles that cover this topic. So this year, here’s our guide to simple product swaps to help you navigate veganuary:
That’s right, you no longer have to compromise when it comes to your shoes, handbags, or gloves. Demand for vegan leather has never been higher because it offers an alternative that is as durable while being better for the environment. We created a handy guide to answer the 14 most frequently asked questions about vegan leather.
Vegan leather is not one product, but any leather alternative. It could be made from plastic, but to be as sustainable as possible, some alternatives are made from recycled tyres or tyre inner tubes. For instance, at Paguro Upcycle, we offer a handbag collection made from recycled materials.
Our Anna Recycled Rubber Vegan Tote Bag might look like it is made of leather, but it is actually made from inner tubes. The advantage of using this material is two-fold; it prevents additional waste filling landfills AND each item is unique because of the materials used.
By definition, wool is not vegan as it is an animal product. This article offers a comprehensive list of eco-friendly vegan fabrics to replace wool that don’t contain plastic. Cotton is also a great alternative, as long as it is sourced in a sustainable and ethical way. It is a good option because it is a natural plant-based fibre (not synthetic), which makes it ideal for those who have sensitive skin.
What image do you conjure when you think of silk? Probably something shiny and soft? The problem is, silk is created by silkworms, they make a cocoon out of it by weaving it. But to get the silk from the silkworms, the process is not vegan-friendly. There are alternatives, such as bamboo and silk cotton trees though.
This is another area of your life that you don’t have to compromise on anymore. Want to wear Dr. Martens, but don’t want to wear leather? You can! TOMS also offer sustainable footwear. And the company is a Certified B Corporation, which means it is committed to the highest social and environmental standards.
Shampoo and conditioner:
Surprising, right? But many shampoos and conditioners contain lecithins. In essence, it acts as an emulsifier, bringing together fats and oils but preventing them from mixing with other elements. It is often made from animal fats, eggs, or fish. It is commonly found in products that offer a solution to dry, brittle, or dull hair.
In the past, it may have been hard to find vegan and/or sustainable hair care products, but things have vastly improved over the past few years. Consumers are driving demand for vegan and sustainable products, which is why the beauty and fashion industries are making changes.
If your New Year’s Resolution is to embrace conscious consumerism alongside veganism, you can! And it may not be as hard as you think. We’re going to provide our top tips to help become the conscious consumer you’ve always wanted to be, but first, what does it mean to be a conscious consumer?
Being a conscious consumer means you think about your purchases before you make them because you are aware of your impact on society (in a nutshell). It means you are aware of your consumption and actively make decisions that are better for those around you, whether that is for the good of the environment, the local community, or the producers who make the products you buy.
For instance, you might decide to go to your local greengrocer and only purchase items that are not wrapped in plastic. This supports local business, hopefully reduces your carbon footprint (if it is walkable/local), and helps the environment by reducing plastic waste.
Here are our top tips to help you become the conscious consumer you’ve always wanted to be:
- Try to upcycle
- Buy quality items that will last (slow fashion) instead of going for quantity (fast fashion)
- Buy second hand products in charity shops or through online marketplaces
- Read your product labels and research the companies you choose to shop with
- Do you need it? Or do you just want it? Buy only what you need
- Focus on ethical brands
- Fix or reuse broken things (think: repair, don’t replace)
- Reduce waste (plastic, food, things that are no longer in fashion)
- Use eco-friendly travel options where possible
- Buy less. Have you tried minimalism?
Consumerism is a part of life. But the impact of consumerism does not have to be negative. We have the power to change our habits and drive trends, we have the opportunity to educate ourselves and those around us to help the environment, and, importantly, there are things every person can do to make a difference.
Are you making any New Year’s Resolutions to become a conscious consumer? Are you committing to veganism? We’d love to know!