If the fur-trimmed recycled-polyester bolero jacket we wrote about in Part I of this entry is very questionably eco, what about a bedspread or throw pillows from pesky possums threatening to overrun New Zealand's flora and fauna?
Portland, Oregon based Eco-Luxury Furs Ltd. is introducing an entire line of Kiwi imports made from brush-tailed possum fur. While it's not the first attempt to introduce possum fur and possum fleece to the U.S. market - Untouched World is another purveyor of possum sweaters and accessories - Eco-Luxury's marketing thrust is the most bold: "All of the luxury, none of the guilt" is this importer's tag line. Well, these days no product is really guilt-free, is it? On the plus side, buying possum fur products, the company says, supports a small local New Zealand manufacturing industry and helps to reduce the out-of-control population of hungry possums - which can eat 20,000 pounds of vegetation nightly. Even Greenpeace New Zealand supports the possum fur industry. Ready for that possum pillow yet? Read on.Your next question might have been about possum treatment - mine was - and there the situation gets a bit more equivocal. Trapping (using cyanide as bait) and hunting are the two methods that while not pleasant for the possum might be preferable to the New Zealand government's other control technique: dropping U.S.-banned chemical 1080 into possum playgrounds. That's a practice that has many locals worried as to the longer term effects of this pesticide on other plants and animals that are supposed to be being protected.
If you've made your peace with the idea of using extra possums for clothing and other products (Eco-Luxury says it only uses non-dyed, unbleached natural skins), the last gotcha just might be the price. It's U.S.$200 for a 14-inch square throw pillow, and $3,800 for a king-sized bed throw. Eco-Luxury founder Chrys Hutchings says those prices are in line for a handmade, fair wage luxury product. Via ::Eco-Luxury