It is one thing to replace all animal products in your kitchen. This can take some time on its own, and by no means should you push yourself beyond what feels comfortable – taking too many steps at a time can make you fall!
Moving at your own pace means you will not feel like the vegan lifestyle is hard, and this is making it more likely for you to stick to the decision long-term. Once you are ready to dive deeper you will start thinking about other non-vegan items in your household.
Again, make the transition gradually. While you can go plant-based cold turkey, throwing away your non-vegan stuff all at once might not be feasible financially or physically (i.e. you may not be able to afford a new couch right now). Some of these purchases may also be gifts, carrying sentimental meaning to them. This is why you should not push the decision, but give yourself enough time to decide for each item separately.
This piece will cover some of the more common suggestions that people do and discuss why it could cause issues or concerns.
Ultimately you need to do what you feel most comfortable with because the damage has already been done.
You cannot repair it, or undo it, but you can certainly make kinder choices in the future. No one sacrificed themselves, they were killed for your purchases – that is the cold harsh truth, but you can’t bring them back. You are doing better now, focus on that and educating others on veganism too.
My personal first choice is to burn old stuff that contains animal products, but everyone has a different approach and here are 8 great options, inspired from a post here.
While this may be OK for things like toiletries, because you could use them theoretically quite quickly if you feel comfortable in doing so, for other things it may cause issues. For example, wearing skin shoes till they wear out. We all know skin (leather) lasts pretty much forever. Some people feel overwhelming guilt wearing them, others feel judged because people will pick up on it and comment, which they do. Often non vegans like to find fault to detract from what they are doing. If you feel confident to state that it was a past purchase, that you are now doing better and are not purchasing any more then this may suit you.
Of course another issue is costs. If you have 10 pairs of skin shoes practically who can afford to replace them all at once? Or if you have a car with skin seats?
Another consideration is I wouldn’t recommend wearing them if you attend any vegan meet up’s. While we all are not perfect, unfortunately some are swifter to jump to judgment than others.
My personal choice has been to immediately get rid of clothing and accessories containing animal products, while I had to wait for a while to give away a leather couch (which I hadn’t bought myself as I couldn’t afford) and replace it with a cruelty-free one!
Some people burn or bury objects, it’s a symbolic gesture but this too is not a perfect solution. For example you can’t bury a skin couch for one it’s far too large. Leather is treated and those chemicals can cause damage to the environment. A wool sweater could be burned without issue.
Give them away to friends and family
Giving them away may seem like one of the easiest solutions. In doing this one of the issues is to consider what message you are sending out. You won’t use them but it’s OK for others to do so. Being non vegan is not an option one should condone. It’s not a personal choice, a personal choice doesn’t affect others. So if you give them, you are saying it’s OK, but it’s not. Just something to consider.
Donate to charity
The local charity shops always need donations, but again consider above, you are saying it is OK to use animals. Also, if you do choose this method, please consider donating to a charity that doesn’t use animals as research.
For many of us we attach sentiment to objects, myself included. We all have a past and while it’s often hard to come to terms with what we have contributed towards, we do have objects that are from animals but the sentiment attached is because a human gave it to us. Perhaps a lost loved one, like a grandparent, a gift for a special birthday like a 21st. Sometimes things like this are harder to part with because of this attachment.
Throwing them away
This may seem the easiest option, but it could also seem disrespectful to some. An animal died or was used in some heinous way and they just end up in the bin. Of course they won’t know about it, but that is something to consider. A deaf person may not understand our insults but would that make it right to insult them just the same?
Selling them is one way to use the money to replace your non-vegan items for vegan ones. But is it right to profit from an animal again? Also consider the approval of use again as I mentioned above. It’s not OK for you, but it’s OK for others. You could donate some of the money to a vegan educating sanctuary.
This is the simplest to answer: donate to an animal sanctuary, they are used to rehabilitate wildlife and are used to comfort babies who have no parents. While you can do this I wouldn’t personally advocate any other way. Google something like “Helping Wildlife with fur” and you can find one in your local area.
These are some smart ways to deal with non-vegan items to consider and help you make a decision!
I am interested to hear – do you have many of those in your household? How have you dealt with them so far?
Dea is passionate about pursuing gentle, pure living in all its forms. She’s a veg and fruit foodie, who loves to explore the healing properties of plant-based foods and then fully indulge in their sun-filled taste. She believes that “In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”