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?
I wish it were true.
To skip directly to my vegan bedding recommendations click here. To learn more about the dark side of traditional duvet materials such as down, silk and wool – read on.
Note that this post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click on a link and make a purchase a small percentage of the sale goes to yours truly. Please know that I strive to only feature products and brands that are eco-conscious and ethical.
The Not So Fluffy Side of Down
While the down industry claims the majority of down is a by-product of the meat industry (meaning it was plucked from already dead birds), website Care 2 reveals that 50%-80% of down still comes from live birds. Plus, 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.” That mental image alone should be enough to convince anyway to say “no thank you” to down bedding.
How Silk is Made is Much 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.
Wool: A “Natural” Alternative?
Once upon a time, sheep grew only enough wool to protect themselves from weather. Humans would then collect the wool the sheep would molt and use this to make clothing. However, as so many consumer products today – a high demand meant the development of highly questionable practices to maximize output and profit. Many sheep are now bred to continuously produce wool and live in flocks that number in the thousands, which limits their individual care. As PETA reports, it’s considered “normal” for four percent of lambs to die every spring due to malnutrition. And while there certainly are those in the wool industry dedicated to humanely producing what is considered a natural material, separating the humane from the inhumane isn’t always easy.
Vegan Bedding Option 1: Bamboo Duvet
Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on the planet, meaning it’s not only a great vegan bedding option, it’s also super sustainable. Most bamboo duvets are filled with bamboo from viscose, which is essentially the wood pulp from a bamboo tree, or a similar bamboo-fibre filling. Bamboo is also naturally anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and odour resistant.
Vegan Bedding Option 2: Microfiber Duvet
Microfiber duvets are usually made from synthetic fabrics like polyester or rayon. Synthetic fabrics often come with their own set of issues (i.e.: formaldehyde is used to keep fabrics wrinkle-free and moisture-resistant). However, microfiber tends to be the most affordable vegan duvet option, which is important when you’re on a tight budget. Sometimes you have to weigh the pros against the cons and make the best choice for you!
Vegan Bedding Option 3: Microgel Duvet
There are also microgel duvets, which is what I myself finally ended up getting. Like microfibre duvets, microgel duvets are often made from a man-made fabric. However, you can also find ones that are made from cotton. Even better if you can find a microgel duvet that is Oeko-Tex certified. Then, you can rest assured beneath a duvet that contains no harmful substances – and was produced in an environmentally friendly manner.
If you’re also in the market for a new mattress, don’t forget to veganize it! The carbon neutral company Avocado Mattress has a vegan mattress option made with certified organic cotton instead of wool. Plus, Avocado’s mattresses are made without the use of toxic chemicals or petroleum-based foam. A win for vegans and for planet earth! Avocado also carries vegan pillows made from kapok and organic cotton sheets.
Sustainable Duvet Covers and Sheets
It doesn’t make sense to invest in a cruelty-free, eco-friendly duvet and not pair it with a sustainable cover and sheets. Aside from Avocado, there are some really cool, earth-conscious companies out there I definitely recommend checking out. Some, such as EarthHero and Made Trade sell a whole range of eco-items including bedding, while others like Delilah Home and Grund focus solely on textiles.
Here are a few of my favourite items from the aforementioned companies!
And finally, don’t forget to check out your local secondhand shop for gently used bedding. Depending on your stance, you might be okay with purchasing a down, silk or wool filled duvet as long as it isn’t new.
Phew. That was a lot of talk about blankets. I think I’ll go take a nap…
Posted on January 19, 2015 (Last Updated on March 18, 2020)