Guilt-free, eco-friendly homes are at the top of the homeware agenda at the moment. We've written before about vegan high street buys and going plastic free (opens in new tab), but there's one huge element that's often overlooked: feathers.
Like other products of the farming industry, feathers can be extremely problematic when their production and supply doesn't comply with ethical standards. Live harvesting and the containment of birds in close quarters are both problems that the feather industry is tackling.
Luckily, there's lots being done to make sure we can still get our super-soft duvets and plump sofa cushions without the cruelty.
At the forefront of the feather-free homeware movement is The Fine Bedding Company (opens in new tab), which recently launched its first eco duvet (opens in new tab) – a 100 per cent recycled design made from plastic bottles. The Smartdown pillow (opens in new tab) also pioneers new technology to create a super-soft material that has the same decadence as natural down.
What else can you do? Taking simple steps like replacing down-filled cushion pads with polyester versions – like this one (opens in new tab) from John Lewis (opens in new tab) – can drastically reduce your feather use for a tenner or under.
Where it's not possible to get rid of feathers, you can still make sure the products you do buy are responsibly sourced. The bedding industry, including The Fine Bedding Company, is raising its standards to include full traceability of its feather and down production process.
The Fine Bedding Company have set the bar with their 'Down Commitment', which makes sure that their products include the following:
- No live plucking
- No live harvesting
- All down and feather is a guaranteed by-product of the food industry
- Animals in the supply chain are not force fed
- Full traceability from parent farm to final product
- Transparent auditing
- Responsibly sourced
- Guaranteed quality
There's still a way to go before the homeware industry embraces the ethical use of feathers, but the work that The Fine Bedding Company and other brands are doing is already making a difference.
Across industries, the momentum is picking up: earlier this month, ASOS announced that it would stop selling feathers and other animal-related materials on its platform.
It seems like it might be the perfect time to get on the bandwagon and do your bit – all while adding a pretty new cushion to your collection...