Back when I was redesigning our master bedroom, I had a hard time answering a kind of silly question. Do I want a duvet? Now, is it important whether we fall asleep beneath a duvet, a quilt, a comforter, or a pile of dirty clothing? No. Of course not. What’s important is that we fall asleep in a warm home in a safe neighbourhood where our biggest problem is what type of bedding to buy. I know this. However, there is a dark side to everything – even blankets. Impossible, you say? Read on…
My original reason for not wanting a duvet was that they’re lumpy. No, that’s not the dark part. I’m still getting there. Every duvet I’ve encountered in the past wouldn’t lay flat and what’s the point of making your bed if it looks like there’s a bunch of turtles hiding beneath the covers? (Ummm, I love turtles so that would actually be awesome.) I also tend to like myself a heavier blanket to help calm my wiggly legs and duvets are pretty fluffy.
So I looked around for a heavy quilt that I liked, but when I came across a linen-coloured duvet cover at The Country Pumpkin, I began to rethink my duvet disdain. I knew I didn’t want a down duvet, because I was pretty darn sure there wasn’t a humane way to de-feather a goose. Still, I was curious about the down collecting process and – since I have an un-scratchable research itch – I did some poking around.
The Not So Fluffy Side of Down
Unfortunately, I was right about the inhumanity. Turns out goose down comes from live birds. According to Peta, “undercover video footage shows employees on goose farms pulling fistfuls of feathers out of live birds, often causing bloody wounds as the animals shriek in terror.” Thank god the images on the page didn’t load while I was reading the article. The words were horrifying enough. The down industry claims the majority of down is a by-product of the meat industry (meaning it was plucked from already dead birds). But this website reveals that 50%-80% of down still comes from live birds.
So no down-filled duvet for me. But what are the other options? Well, there’s silk, but if a goose deserves my sympathy, than a silk worm does too. As the saying goes, “everything under the sun…”
How Silk is Made is Creepier Than the Worms
Silk bedding is often pitched as an excellent alternative to down duvets due to its hypoallergenic properties. But, just as with down – the production of silk has a disturbing side.
According to Earth Divas, the silkworms used in the production of human goods have now been farmed for so long they can no longer exist in the wild. If allowed, a silkworm would follow the natural stages of metamorphosis. However, the majority of silkworms are boiled alive or gassed inside their cocoons before they can further mature.
The creepiest aspect is that if a domesticated silkworm were allowed to live to its moth phase (Bombyx mori), it would be blind and lack the ability to fly. This not-so-fun fact reminds me of reading about KFC chickens being bred without beaks or feet. Thankfully, according to Snopes, this is a false accusation as this practice “is still beyond the reach of modern science for the time being.” Hmm, “for the time being”…? Reassuring.
But I digress. There is a product called peace silk, made by wild moths allowed to pass throughout all metamorphosis stages and go on to die a natural death. However, I wasn’t able to find whether there are peace silk duvets. But I was able to find a few alternatives to down, silk or and other animal-based materials such as wool. Turns out vegan bedding is a thing!
Vegan Bedding Options
Bamboo duvets are made from one of the fastest growing plants on the planet. Microfibre duvets are usually made from synthetic fabrics like polyester or rayon. There are also microgel duvets, which is what I ended up getting. Synthetic fabrics often come with their own set of issues (i.e.: formaldehyde is used to keep fabrics wrinkle-free and moisture-resistant). However, if you get Oeko-Tex certified vegan bedding you can rest assured it was produced in an environmentally friendly manner and contains no harmful substances.
Phew. That was a lot of talk about blankets. I think I’ll go lie down now…
While I’m napping beneath my Oeko-Tex certified microgel duvet, tell me – what kind of sustainable products do you own? Doesn’t have to be sleep related. Perhaps you own a bamboo bra? A peace silk purse? Something else I’m not clever enough to alliterate about? And don’t forget to subscribe for more posts on architecture, interior design, DIY projects, sustainability, crafts, gardening, home decor and healthy eating.
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Posted on January 19, 2015