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Products in Plastic?
I recently read a meat industry piece
that claimed that plastics are produced in part from
animal by-products. If this is true, it leaves me wondering
about polyester, vinyl, and other animal fabric substitutes.
Could you shed some light on this please?
Plastics refer to any group of synthetic
or natural organic materials that can be molded, cast,
extruded, drawn, or laminated into films, filaments,
or objects. The production of various plastics entails
a complex chemical process that typically includes petroleum
along with many types of resins, resinoids, polymers,
cellulose derivatives, proteins, and casein materials.
Casein, a regenerated protein derived from cow's milk,
may be combined with formaldehyde to form casein-formaldehyde.
It may also be combined with renin, an enzyme obtained
from the stomach lining of animals, to create rennet-casein.
These animal by-products are not used
in the manufacture of all plastics and, when viewed
as a percentage of the whole, they comprise an infinitesimal
part of the constituents used in the overall production
of plastics. The financial bearing these by-products
have on the animal slaughter industries is negligible
and inconsequential. In addition, it would be virtually
impossible to participate in modern life without encountering
some commodity that contains at least a modicum of animal
products or derivatives.
Because there are no perfect alternatives
for every animal-based item, vegans must choose to tread
as lightly as possible by selecting the most compassionate
choices available. The amount of animal ingredients
used in some plastics is trifling when compared with
true animal commodities, such as leather, wool, or down,
which directly fuel the continual slaughter of animals.
After a while, it becomes exhausting and nonsensical
to dissect the microscopic elements of our lives and
rifle through every last belonging in search of the
elusive animal ingredient. What would be the point?
Purity? Consonance? Moral righteousness?
As vegans, we must confront the fact
that our world, our options, and even our own actions
are fallible. As much as we may want to be fastidious
in our elimination of animal-based commodities, there
are realistic considerations that make this impractical.
From the perspective of compassion, economic impact,
and the ability to inspire change and create a demand
for genuinely humane products, our present-day substitutes,
despite their drawbacks, are far superior to commodities
that represent obvious suffering and death.
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