table of contents
March 3, 2007
It's not easy being green, part 1
I've been thinking recently about shopping and the big sooty footprint we leave on the planet. We, as Americans, particularly, buy a lot of stuff we don't really need -- and we love a good bargain on it too! When you think about what the production of the stuff you wear does to the planet, and, for the most part, how the workers who make your 2 for $10 t-shirts are treated, well, it all boils down to an unpretty picture. But this is hardly news.
Most of my clothes I get secondhand. Honestly not so much through any sort of politically correct choice, but because I seem to find things I like better there and I enjoy the sport of it, the treasure hunt. And because the prices are so good, you can afford to be more daring. Or keep something for a couple of months and then give it the "from the thriftshop you were taken, and to the thriftshop ye shall return" trip to the backdoor.
And secondhand shopping IS recycling. And even if something was manufactured in a sweat shop, your dollars are not supporting the practice, rather they are usually supporting some sort of rehabilitation program or care for sick children. I don't think anyone can make the argument that more firsthand things are made to support the lively secondhand trade. Rather, the more things are re-used, the fewer things need to be produced and the fewer things end up in the landfill.
Some people are squeamish about wearing something used. There are always lines. Whether it's someone else's shoes, or anything that can't be machine washed. So what about these things? I've been thinking that I should really be voting with my wallet more conscientiously when it comes to these purchases. American Apparel has a pretty full line of t-shirts and underwear, pajamas and tights. And lots of nice cotton basics for kids. This is something else I end up buying new. Not all of American Apparel is organic, or perfect for the planet, but it seems like a more positive choice.