Is faux fur biodegradable? (3 advantages and 3 disadvantages of faux fur)

This article shall answer the question of the biodegradability of faux fur.

It shall also cover other areas such as:

  • Applications of faux fur.
  • Advantages and disadvantages of faux fur.
  • Eco-friendliness of faux fur.

Is faux fur biodegradable?

No, faux is not biodegradable. Faux is a synthetic replica of natural fur. It is made from non-biodegradable plastics.

Faux fur is also called fake fur. 

The process of biodegradation occurs in organic substances, plastics is one of the most non-biodegradable materials, taking up to 1000 years to degrade.

Biodegradation is the process by which microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi break down organic tissue into small biomass, producing carbon dioxide, water, or methane.

Heat is also produced during the process of biodegradation and is lost to the environment. 

The main agents of biodegradation are bacteria and fungi. They break organic materials, using them as a source of carbon to make food and energy.

Microbes can use either oxygen or other chemical compounds to break down organic matter. When they use oxygen, the process is called aerobic biodegradation.

When microorganisms use any other chemical to break down organic matter instead of oxygen, the process is called anaerobic biodegradation.

The products of aerobic biodegradation are carbon dioxide and water. The products of anaerobic biodegradation are carbon dioxide and methane.

The biodegradation process occurs in three distinct stages: biodeterioration, bio-fragmentation, and finally assimilation. 

Biodeterioration is the first stage of biodegradation that involves abiotic factors such as light, UV radiation, and water to help in the weakening of the structure of organic substances.

Bio-fragmentation is the second stage that involves the physical breakdown of organic matter into small particles, this is due to the biodeterioration of the organic matter in the first stage.

The last stage involves the fungi and the bacteria breaking down the small particles into even smaller biomass, producing heat, water, carbon dioxide, and methane, with the products depending on the type of biodegradation; whether aerobic or anaerobic.

What is faux fur?

Faux fur is a fabric material that is made from synthetic plastics to imitate natural fur.

The use of fur has been in existence for centuries now. It dates back to the cavemen who used animal fur to warm their bodies. 

Faux fur was introduced into the market in 1929. The first attempts to make faux fur were based on hair from the Alpacas mammal. However, it was in the 1950s when faux made of acrylic polymers instead of alpaca hair came into existence.

By the mid-20th century, faux fur had successfully replaced alpaca hair and had successfully replicated furs of different animals. 

Properties of faux fur.

The following are the properties of faux fur.

  • It is cheaper than real fur.
  • It is soft, resilient, durable, and warm.
  • It is resistant to insect attacks such as moth larvae.
  • It can easily be dry-cleaned or laundered.
  • Faux fur may contain different appearances and colors.
  • Faux fur is insulative and warm.
  • Faux fur can pill and become shabby after a short time and therefore require regular cleaning and combing.
  • Faux fur is heavier than quilted fabrics.
  • Faux fur is less resistant to wind, wind, and snow and is more difficult to dry than quilted fabrics.

The applications of faux fur.

Faux fur is used to make fabrics that are used in the following ways:

  • It is used to make stuffed animals.
  • It is used to make home decorations like pillows and beddings.
  • It is used to make jackets, coats, vests, shawls, shoes, and purses.
  • It is used in teen fashion.
  • It is used in the making of fursuits in the furry community.

Advantages of faux fur.

The following are the advantages of faux fur.

  • It is cruelty-free. It is produced from synthetic plastics and therefore does not involve the killing of animals for fur, like natural fur.
  • It has a low cost of production as compared to animal fur.
  • It is highly versatile; it can be made into different designs, shapes, and colors.
  • It is easy to maintain, and wash and is highly durable.

Disadvantages of faux fur.

The following are the disadvantages of faux fur.

  • Faux fur is not eco-friendly since it is non-biodegradable.
  • It is not resistant to extreme weather conditions such as snow, wind, or frost.
  • It has a coarse texture, unlike the natural fur.
  • It has low breathability as compared to natural fur.

What is faux fur made of?

Faux are made up of synthetic polymers such as polyester, modacrylic, and acrylic fibers.

Faux fur can also be blended with natural fabrics such as wool and cotton.

Polyester.

This is a polymer that contains a repeat of ester groups.

It is also called polyethylene terephthalate.

Polyesters can be thermoplastic or thermoset.

They are either natural or synthetic, with natural polyester found in cuticles of some plants.

There are different types of polyesters depending on their chemical components, and the length of their monomers.

Properties of polyester plastic.

The following are the properties of polyester.

It is inert.

It is a strong and hard material.

It is durable.

It is resistant to microbial attack.

It is lightweight, and hence easy to carry.

It is fully recyclable.

Uses of polyester.

The following are the properties of polyester plastic.

  • It is used in making fabrics for knitting shirts, pants, jackets, bed sheets, blankets, upholstery, and hats.
  • It is used in the reinforcement of car tires.
  • Making conveyor belts.
  • Making safety belts.
  • Used as cushioning material in pillows.
  • Used in making bottles.
  • Used in making canoes.
  • Used in making insulating tapes.
  • Used in making liquid crystal displays.
  • Used in making filters

Acrylic fiber.

This is a synthetic fiber made from polyacrylonitrile monomers and co-monomers such as vinyl acetate or methyl acrylate.

Properties of acrylic textile.

Acrylic textile has the following properties.

It is lightweight.

  • It is soft and warm.
  • Acrylic resembles wool in its texture.
  • It is highly resilient to chemical solvents.
  • It is resilient to insect digestion or microbial degradation.

Uses of acrylic textile.

Acrylic textile is used in the following ways.

  • It is used in upholstery.
  • It is used to make warm jumpers.
  • It is used to make blankets and duvets.
  • It is used to make gloves and tracksuits.
  • It is used to make socks.
  • It is used to make carpets

Modacrylic fabric.

This is a synthetic copolymer. The fiber is soft, strong, resilient, and very stable. It is easily dyed, has high elasticity, and is easily dried.

Modacrylic fiber is resistant to chemicals and solvents and is not attacked by insects and fungi such as moths and mildew.

Unlike acrylic fiber, modacrylic does not combust and is retardant to fire.

Modacrylic fabric is used in the manufacturing of apparel linings, fur-like outwear, paint rollers, hair wigs, carpets, and scatter rugs.

How is faux fur processed?

Synthetic fibers such as acrylic and modacrylic fibers are cut into shape and held in place by being knitted into a base material.

The high-profile material is converted into faux fur by the following processes:

  • Heat setting: this is meant to preshrink the fabric in length, giving it stability and expanding its diameter.
  • Tigering: rolls of wire brushes are used to remove loose fibers from the surface of the fabric.
  • Shearing: rough shearing is done using helical knives to acquire desired height.
  • Electrifying: this is a polishing technique aimed at giving the fiber the desired luster by combing the fabric in both directions with a heated grooved cylinder.
  • Chemical applications: chemicals such as silicone and other resins are added to increase the smoothness.
  • Electrifying: second electrifying is done to improve the luster.
  • Finish shearing: this is a light shearing aimed at removing loose fibers that came about due to previous treatments.

Is faux fur eco-friendly?

No, faux fur is not eco-friendly. It is made of synthetic plastics such as polyester and acrylic; these plastics are non-biodegradable and pollute land and water bodies.

According to a study, the Washing of faux fur fabrics may release microplastics into the water system, these microplastics can cause harm to aquatic animals.

Conclusion.

This article has answered the question of the biodegradability of faux fur.

It has also covered other areas that include:

  • The constituents of faux fur.
  • The properties of each constituent.
  • The advantages and disadvantages of faux fur.
  • The processing of faux fur.

For any questions or comments please use the comment section below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): is faux fur biodegradable?

Is faux fur cruelty-free?

Yes, faux fur is cruelty-free because it is made from synthetic plastics and not from animal fur, therefore, it does not involve the killing of animals.

What is eco-friendly fur?

An eco-friendly fur is that which is biodegradable and does not pollute the environment. Natural fur from animals is eco-friendly since it can easily be broken down by microorganisms.

Does faux come from animals?

No, faux is a fabric material made from synthetic plastics such as acrylic, modacrylic, and polyester.

Citations.

Jennifer Okafor. ( 23 July 2021). What is Faux Fabric? Sustainability, Pros, and Cons.

Retrieved from:

https://www.trvst.world/sustainable-living/fashion/faux-fur-fabric-sustainability/

Abu Sayed. What is Faux Fur: Processing and Characteristics.

Retrieved from:

https://textileapex.blogspot.com/2015/06/what-is-faux-fur-processing-characteristics.html

Michael Nystrom. ( September 9, 2019). What is Faux Fur? (Materials, Textures, and projects).

Retrieved from:

https://blog.shannonfabrics.com/blog/2019/09/09/what-is-faux-fur-fabric

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