When it comes to being vegan, we often focus on the obvious products like food, cosmetics and household cleaning products. However, when you start to dive a little deeper, you realise that the issue of animal exploitation for human consumption purposes pervades many other areas of our lives. It’s insidious. To give but a glimpse into the scale of the problem, here we highlight five surprising everyday items that may not be vegan.
1. Plastic bags
The environmental reasons to reduce plastic bag usage are well documented. However, what many people – including vegans – may not know is that plastic bags contain slipping agents which are made from animal fat. This is for the purpose of reducing friction and static in the material.
The alternative: Fabric tote bags are an excellent alternative to plastic bags. Make sure you choose ones that are made from vegan-friendly alternatives.
We love this EcoRight canvas tote bag available on Amazon
Most of us use razors almost every day for hair removal. However, you may be surprised to know that your razor might not be vegan. This is because many razors contain a soft moisture strip made from animal fat glycerine. This is added to razors to make shaving more comfortable and reduce irritation.
The alternative: Thankfully, many vegan and cruelty-free options are available so you can enjoy an ethical shave.
I’ve been using FFS beauty for 18 months now and love the convenience of it being delivered to my door and the recyclable part.
Candles are another common household item that may not be vegan. This is because many candle manufacturers use beeswax, stearic acid and animal fat in the production of their products. Any candles made with these ingredients are, therefore, not vegan friendly.
The alternative: If you enjoy using candles, you will be pleased to know that there are many vegan-friendly candles on the market. Just check before purchase to ensure you are buying a vegan-friendly product.
We love this large Codandle candle in a festive apple and cinnamon scent, perfect for the winter season.
What, we can’t even practice safe sex?! Well, not without first checking the ingredients of your condoms. Many condoms are made using casein which is a dairy milk protein. They are also often tested on animals. We did say the problem was insidious!
The alternative: Vegan-friendly condoms are available. Some of the big brands, like Durex, do offer some condoms which are free from animal-derived ingredients. The trouble is, they are not always clearly labelled, and it’s not always apparent whether they are also cruelty-free.
We recommend these HANX condoms, which are certified by the Vegan Society.
Continuing with the intimate theme, tampons, like condoms, tend not to be vegan-friendly. This is because they contain chemicals, like bleach, which is often tested on animals. Sometimes, they are also directly tested on animals (yes, we mean literally inserted inside animals such as rabbits).
The alternative: Some products like period underwear and menstrual cups are an alternative to using tampons at all. These are also more sustainable, environmentally friendly options. However, if you do wish to use tampons, you will be happy to know that vegan and cruelty-free options are available.
We recommend these affordable Flo tampons, which are biodegradable and made from organic cotton.
So, vegans, you may not realise that many of the everyday items you use are not actually vegan friendly. While this may seem daunting, it’s important not to get down on yourself because these things are not obvious. Unlike food, many everyday items do not carry a legal obligation to state their ingredients, and manufacturers can be deceptive in their marketing. Luckily, many vegan brands are popping up to offer us great vegan and cruelty-free alternatives for these everyday products. As you become aware of things, you can simply switch to use one of these alternatives.
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