The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Do I need to throw away my non-vegan makeup, clothes, and other products once I go vegan, even if I purchased them before going Vegan?

Posted on July 05, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor


“Do I need to throw away my non-vegan makeup, clothes, and other products once I go vegan, even if I purchased them before going Vegan?”
By Sasha Keenan

As lifestyle choices are personal, every vegan has a unique set of reasons for avoiding animal products. In many cases, this rationale is some combination of ethical, environmental, and health concerns. While some individuals are simply looking to eat plant-based foods, others completely eliminate non-vegan makeup, clothes, and products.

My initial transition to veganism was solely for health reasons and could be classified as a diet change. Previously, I made frequent trips to the McDonald’s drive-thru and snacked on fatty, oily snacks – I felt sluggish and unhappy. After getting very sick, I decided that I needed to alter my diet drastically by going vegan. Because my decision to eliminate animal products from my diet was for my own wellbeing, I did not get rid of my non-vegan makeup, clothes, and products.

About six months into my vegan journey, I began researching non-health related benefits of veganism and watching documentaries such as Cowspiracy and Forks over Knives. After I became aware of the perpetual neglect and abuse animals suffer and how environmentally damaging livestock production is, my passion for veganism grew – I was no longer vegan for me, but for the planet and every being on it. While consuming a vegan diet is the best thing I could do for my body, following a vegan lifestyle was the best thing I could do for the world. Although I already wasn’t eating meat, fish, dairy, or eggs, I no longer wanted to own leather, fur, or products tested on animals because I didn’t want to support the production of these products. I promptly donated every non-vegan product I owned. In other words, I believe that if you’re simply interested in eating a vegan diet, you may not necessarily dispose of your non-vegan products, but if you’re seeking a vegan lifestyle, you should.

Morgan Hubbard, an incoming freshman at the University of Illinois, transitioned to veganism after she discovered her passion for animal sciences and animal rights. Since her decision to go vegan was driven by a moral issue, she said she found herself following a vegan lifestyle and getting rid of her non-vegan products. “I didn’t really use my non-vegan products after going vegan, so I gave them away,” Hubbard said.

When getting rid of non-vegan products, I think it’s important to note that throwing away makeup, clothes, and products that have already been purchased is wasteful. Though she didn’t have many non-vegan products when transitioning to veganism about a year ago, Vegetarian Resource Group Intern Sierra Young said she decided to use up her non-vegan products instead of throwing them away. “I did not get rid of what [non-vegan products] I had because of the waste factor,” Young said.

Christiana Rutkowski, another Vegetarian Resource Group Intern, said she thinks it’s more environmentally and ethically conscious to use up a non-vegan product than to throw it away. “It’s wasteful throwing something out and if you bought it beforehand, just use it until it can no longer be used or give it to a friend.” If you don’t want to make use of your non-vegan products, I think a good solution is to donate these products to Goodwill or, as Rutkowski suggested, give them away to a friend.

Casey Brown, a VRG Intern, said she thinks giving away non-vegan products to non-vegan friends often allows vegans to “discuss issues with their friends and tell them why they no longer support the products.” In addition to creating a platform on which to educate others, giving someone else an already purchased product will prevent the purchase of a new non-vegan product. For example, if a recently-transitioned vegan has a pair of leather boots they want to get rid of and their friend is looking to buy a new pair of leather boots, the vegan can give their friend the boots and prevent their friend from buying a new pair of boots made with leather from another animal. “Giving something non-vegan to a friend or donating it somewhere prevents people from buying a brand new product and further supporting the industry,” Brown said.

What’s your opinion?

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