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USA MANUFACTURING
CAN BE VALUABLE
TO ENVIRONMENTALISTS

It is astonishing that many people interested in the survival and sustenance of the environment do not seem to want to maintain USA manufacturing. USA manufacturing is important for environmental protection - and ought to be important to any citizen of the USA who considers him or herself "green:" USA manufacturing is done under the control of the citizens of the USA.

In the USA, we have laws on the treatment of the environment. There are laws on dumping solvents in or near bodies of water, laws on containment of chemicals, laws on air pollution, etc. Many of the laws that exist are not perfect, and many are not properly enforced, and, of course, there could be more or different laws. But there are laws, and there still is some control left to citizens by vote or by behavior. The fact is that manufacturing done in foreign countries is not under the direct control of USA citizens and USA laws, and many foreign countries are not concerned about the environment.

I'm the president of Tough Traveler Ltd., a USA designing and manufacturing company. We design and manufacture backpacks, luggage, camera bags, briefcases, and many other bags and packs. One product we make is baby/child carrier backpacks which have aluminum frames. Some years ago a USA company suggested selling us "etched" aluminum. The aluminum would have been treated with acid, completely legal but not necessary for the use of the aluminum in our child carriers. What would have happened to the acid waste also would have been legal, as it would have been disposed, of, I believe, by a responsible manufacturer in a legal way. But having the acid-etched aluminum for our baby backpacks would not have improved the function of our packs, except to make them more desireable to a consumer whose idea of beauty they fit. So we kept our aluminum unetched.

Why should USA consumers, companies, or associations purchase products from foreign manufacturers, and then try to control the environmental laws in the other countries? That approach might be okay with an unlimited or vast number of manufacturers in countries where the laws were as desired. But if there is no concern for keeping USA production, then when there are absolutely no USA manufacturers left, control of the environmental treatments in other countries could be more difficult!

Likewise, why complain about the pay of textile workers 'off-shore,' when you don't want to pay the factory employees here in the USA? The Sierra Club, for example, buys backpacks from Bengladesh, and then demonstrates against the low wages of foreign workers, instead of buying backpacks from a USA manufacturer with higher-paid USA workers. USA consumers, organizations and associations can follow the lead of, for example, the NYS Troopers' voluntary association which has purchased USA-made backpacks for their camp for disadvantaged children and supported the workers and environmental laws in the USA.

Employed citizens can make better supporters of the National Parks, and they can be more eager to participate in the support of environmentalism! As you watch the USA with a growing unemployment problem, remember that lower tax revenues is not helpful for gaining funds to clean brownfields, and unemployed citizens do not eagerly tax themselves to clean rivers.

Often products made by 'your neighbors,' under USA wage and environmental laws, are made-to-last. Durable useful products are products that do not fill up dumps, as these products are being used for years either by the individual - such as a backpack or briefcase or camera bag lasting 20-30 years - or being passed from family to family, such as baby products.

There is still some value for the environment in having some USA manufacturing remain, but, sadly, many people do not recognize its value. E-Magazine recommended my coumpany's baby carriers on the basis of durability: Durable useful products are valuable - and maintaining some manufacturing in the USA for products that are used in the USA does benefit USA environmentalists. Count the backpacks, count the luggage, and count all the other bags and packs that are used daily in the USA, and then decide that you want all manufacturing of those products done 'off-shore,' without USA rules. Perhaps you'll change your mind.


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