13 Mar American Made Merchandise is the Eco-friendly Choice
American Made Merchandise is the Eco-friendly Choice
Two weeks after Mardi Gras we couldn’t ignore this article published by The Conversation, given its relevance to eco-friendly merchandise. Author David Redmon does and excellent job highlighting the destructive impact Mardi Gras beads have on the environment and the foreign workers who make them:
“In America, the necklaces appear innocent enough, and Mardi Gras revelers seem to love them; in fact, 25 million pounds get distributed each year. Yet they pose a danger to people and the environment…
[Environmental scientist named Dr. Howard Mielke]’s concern is the collective impact of the beads thrown each carnival season, which translates to almost 4,000 pounds of lead hitting the streets
“If children pick up the beads, they will become exposed to a fine dusting of lead,” Howard told me. “Beads obviously attract people, and they’re designed to be touched, coveted.”…
When looking at the entire story – from the Middle East, to China, to New Orleans – a new picture comes into focus: a cycle of environmental degradation, worker exploitation and irreparable health consequences. No one is spared; the child on the streets of New Orleans innocently sucking on his new necklace and young factory workers like Qui Bia are both exposed to the same neurotoxic chemicals.”
Our clients often choose to use made in U.S.A merchandise recognizing that products made domestically help the American economy and worker. But many fail to realize that U.S.A. made merchandise is much more environmentally friendly than its foreign counterparts.
This largely attributable to strict EPA regulations banning the use of toxic chemicals in manufacturing consumer products. This means that certain types of materials – some plastics, crystal, stainless steel – are de facto illegal to make in America. And though this presents a challenge to merchandise companies like us, we understand that it is possible to manufacture items in the U.S.A. that are indistinguishable from “the real thing”.
At FII we go the extra environmental mile to source from American factories that practice environmentally responsible manufacturing beyond EPA regulation. Our suppliers utilize renewable energy to power the production of toxin-free products. About such manufacturers Dr. Mielke goes on to say:
“What about going a step further and rewarding the factories that make these beads with tax breaks and federal and state subsidies, which would give them incentives to sustain operations, hire more people, pay them fair living wages, all while limiting environmental degradation? A scenario like this could reduce the rates of cancers caused by styrene, significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and help create local manufacturing jobs in Louisiana.”
We couldn’t agree more. In 2017 it’s never been more important to think about the impact our “disposable” promotional products have on the worker, economy and the environment.
Need help sourcing eco-friendly merchandise? Contact us today.