We now know that the best way to reduce our impact on the planet is to reduce our meat and dairy intake.
But, have you considered the impact of what you're wearing too? As the temperatures are starting to plummet, you may need some new winter clothes.
However, wool jackets may be a no-go if you care about animal welfare or are a vegetarian or vegan.
Instead, here are nine wool alternative fabrics to help you have an eco-friendly and cruelty-free winter.
1. Hemp is Really Good for You
If you're new to veganism, you may have heard many people mention hemp. It's regarded as a wonder food. But, this interesting plant also has many other uses.
For example, you can use this plant to create fibers to use for making clothes! The result is warm and soft too, perfect for winter.
While wearing your new hemp jacket, why not snack on some fiber full hemp seed granola or even a hemp milk coffee?
2. Organic Cotton is Better for Famers
Did you know that organic cotton is both softer than regular cotton and hypoallergenic?
Furthermore, it protects eco-systems as it uses less water than regular cotton. Farmers who create this cotton are better treated and you can ensure that fair trade cotton is a great pick for a winter jacket.
These cotton crops aren't treated with toxins that are harmful to you, the farmers, and the environment.
Check out this list of fashionable and sustainable clothing brands to find clothing which is made using organic cotton.
3. Bamboo is Quick Growing
If you've been following all of the eco-friendly trends, it's likely that you already know the wonders of bamboo. Maybe you even own a bamboo toothbrush.
This flowering plant is not just the favorite snack of a panda but has other uses such as to build roads and scaffolding, feed both animals and people, and turn into clothes.
The main benefit of this material is that it is quick and easy to go. When it comes to clothing, bamboo is antibacterial meaning you'll smell fresh all day!
It is also an extremely soft fabric and will keep you warm throughout the winter months by wicking sweat away from your body.
4. Linen is Naturally Insulating
If you're someone who doesn't own an iron, perhaps this material is one to avoid this winter.
You may already have a few summery dresses or shirts in linen, but this material can also keep you warm during the winter.
This is due to its hollow fibers. The result is an insulating effect which ensures you're not feeling too chilly.
It's not the softest material on the list but it's simple to soften up using baking soda and vinegar if you purchase a particularly scratchy garment.
5. Soybeans Are Great for Breakfast and Outfits
Vegans should be very familiar with soybeans. This East Asian plant replaces meat and dairy wonderfully.
But, did you know that you could also be wearing soybean fiber? This material is derived from food production waste, making it even better for the planet.
It is occasionally called the vegetable cashmere and is certainly a lot cheaper than this expensive, animal-derived product.
Better yet, any garments made from this material are soft and very easy to look after, so they should last you for many years!
6. rPET is Recycled Polyester
Anyone interested in the environment knows the damage that plastic is causing to the entire planet.
Now, manufacturers are using polyethylene terephthalate and recycling it to create a material called rPET.
This material is essentially made from plastic bottles used by consumers. It is soft and, unlike linen, not at all scratchy.
Of course, this material may result in microfibres being released into the environment. So, make sure you follow the washing instructions closely.
7. Tencel is Made From Wood
Did you know that the material Tencel is made using wood cellulose? It is now regularly used, simply look out for it on labels while shopping!
The material can be used to create everything from warm jumpers to lighter trousers.
Better yet, it is made using a closed-loop technology. As a result, chemicals and water are reused, reducing the impact on the planet!
8. Coconuts are Delicious and Make Great Jackets
It seems that many of the materials in this list are derived from foodstuffs and this is no exception.
Coconut fiber can be used to create a huge range of clothing items. They are made using coconut shells meaning the resulting products are 100% biodegradable.
This is a great material for summer as it is light and airy. For winter, use it as a base layer and add jackets to keep yourself toasty!
9. Pineapple Leather is Cruelty-Free
The leather industry is inhumane but, unfortunately, it does produce clothing which is long-wearing and stylish.
Replacing this cruel practice is pineapple leather. This material will keep your feet dry during those wet months and ensure you're looking sharp too!
You may have already seen many products made from pineapple leather but not realized what it is, as it also goes under the name Piñatex.
It's the leaves from a pineapple that make up this material. But, it also relies on a petroleum-based resin which isn't as fantastic for the planet.
Replace your wooly leather jacket with a Piñatex coat lined with wonderfully soft hemp!
Wool Alternative Fabrics are Easy to Come By
Shopping responsibly requires forethought and effort. But, once you've built a capsule wardrobe of fantastic pieces that are cruelty-free and vegan, you won't need to go shopping for years to come!
Are you worried about the cost involved in buying cruelty-free clothing? Don't worry, there are many budget options. One of which is to shop at second-hand stores.
For more guidance on wool alternative fabrics and more, check out this article on how to buy eco-friendly clothing on a budget!