My first dilemma when choosing to go vegan was what the heck to do with my leather jackets, my purses and shoes and boots? The majority of them are leather, something I had never given a moment's thought to in the past. For the first six months or so, I steadfastly refused to wear any of them. I sold my leather jackets, and I put my purses away. The only thing I continued to use was my shoes because I simply can't afford to go out and buy vegan shoes.
I make my own face cream. The recipe I've been using for quite some time contains beeswax, and I still have a small bagful of it in my pantry. I've been smearing beeswax (along with a few other ingredients) all over my face morning and night for quite a long time now. It's a great face cream, perfect consistency, smells great, feels wonderful. I make my own lip balm as well – and you guessed it – also full of beeswax. Those bees are quite brilliant, really. It's a wonderful thing beeswax is - not to mention honey. I've replaced my honey on bread addiction with maple syrup on bread which suits me just fine, but honey is amazing. I decided long ago, however, that the bees work hard to make the honey and I have no business taking it.
A few months back, I took the beeswax out of my pantry and went to throw it out and then something occurred to me; how incredibly wasteful is that? Not only was I feeling guilty about using the beeswax (which the bees need a whole lot more than I do), but now I was going to throw it into the garbage. That struck me as a greater wrong than using up what I had left. So I made some more face cream, and I made some more lip balm, and when that small bag runs out I'll look for an alternative because there definitely are some alternatives.
I've decided that instead of feeling guilty about my shoes and boots, I'll wear them until they can't be worn anymore and then I'll buy vegan alternatives. I'm on the fence about my purses. I've tried unsuccessfully to sell them. I have three, and they're full on leather. I'm leaning towards donating them when I'm able to purchase an alternative. In the meantime, I have leather purses.
I sway back and forth on whether or not that's hypocritical. Some will say it is (I'm waiting for the comments!). For me, though, the waste seems worse. I'm not in a position to replace everything all at once and so why waste things I've already got? The wasting seems like more of a disservice to the animals those products came from than getting as much use out of them as I can and then moving forward from there. Eventually I won't own any animal products and that's the goal. I'm trying hard (not easy for me) to approach life with a more minimalist attitude which ties everything together; less buying and more using up of what I already have. Waste not, want not....