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to Do With Nonvegan Items?
What do I do about clothing and food
in my household that are not vegan now that I've become
one? This is my third attempt at veganism. I am now
more informed, more aware, and feel that I have made
the decision for good now. However, before I became
vegan, I bought a pair of leather sandals. I also purchased
many packages of a veggie burger mix product that, while
vegetarian, is not vegan (dairy, I think). I understand
how wasteful it would be to not use the food, so I plan
to use it until it is gone and then I will not purchase
that product again (unless by some miracle they change
their ingredients). But the shoes? It's not that they
were expensive -- they weren't. I'm broke. I can't really
afford to, right now, go out and buy vegan sandals (though
I have noticed they are usually quite cheap). Should
I find someone to give my leather sandals to? I'm not
really very keen now on wearing them mostly because
I have to wonder what kind of message I would be sending
as a self-proclaimed vegan in leather footwear. Hypocritical,
at best, I fear, and I certainly don't want to send
that sort of message. What is the best way for me to
go about making these changes within my home? No one
I know would use those veggie burger mixes. So what
Virtually every new vegan encounters
the dilemma you are presently facing. Often it is not
easy to part with nonvegan items for a variety of reasons,
and you touched on several of them. Finances are a critical
consideration because, even though the heart may be
willing, if the wallet is empty new purchases will be
forestalled by necessity. It is important to weigh the
odds: What is your comfort level wearing nonvegan items
now that you have made an ethical commitment to veganism?
How long will it take for you to save enough money to
replace essentials, such as shoes, that are nonvegan?
Do you already own vegan alternatives that you could
use in the meantime, even if they aren't ideal?
You are correct in thinking that wearing
animal products, such as leather sandals, would appear
hypocritical and could easily send a distorted message
about veganism to others. To avoid wastefulness, some
vegans wear their old nonvegan items only in the seclusion
of their own home and put on their "veganwear" when
they are out in public. This addresses the issue of
frugality on two levels: utilizing what is already owned
and extending the life of one's vegan products through
prudent use. However, many vegans find wearing animal-based
commodities to be ethically and emotionally excruciating
and they cannot bear to don them even in private. Consequently,
each vegan must determine her or his own threshold of
tolerance and make choices based on individual need
and economic circumstance.
There are many creative and practical
ways to dispose of animal-based commodities such as
yard sales, consignment shops, thrift stores, shelters,
gifts to nonvegan friends or relatives, and so forth.
Some vegans donate the proceeds from the sale of their
nonvegan items to animal rights organizations; others
use the profits to purchase vegan replacements.
Nonperishable foodstuffs can be donated
to food banks, shelters, or public kitchens. Even if
these organizations don't generally deal in vegetarian/vegan
fare, they are usually very grateful for donations of
any kind and will put them to good use.
If you feel you cannot part with your
pre-vegan commodities right now, then hold onto them
until you are prepared to let them go. When you are
ready, you will be able to devise imaginative and serviceable
ways to discard them. I think you'll find that releasing
the final remnants of death from your home is an incredibly
liberating experience -- one filled with unfettered
joy and the satisfaction of no longer needing to justify
apparent conflicts of conscience.
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