Buying products that are made in the USA supports both our neighbors and nation. Keeping the entire product cycle within our borders employs more Americans, enhances local and national economic security and ensures greater product quality because American environmental and health regulatory standards are often higher than in other countries. For companies, domestic production can be part of a larger emphasis on supporting local businesses and implementing eco-practices.
StillMadeInUSA.com provides examples of domestically made products in many categories, including personal apparel, handcrafts, household goods, green products, appliances, sporting goods and tools.
About 95 percent of our clothing is now made in other countries, according to the Ecology Global Network (Ecology.com), mostly in China, where sweatshops and human rights abuses are prevalent. Polyester and nylon are derived from petroleum and processed and dyed using synthetic, often toxic substances such as copper, nickel and cobalt. The nonprofit Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture’s Fibershed and Grow Your Jeans programs (Tinyurl.com/GreenJeansEtc) and the Sustainable Cotton Project’s Cleaner Cotton program (Tinyurl.com/CleanerCotton) increase domestic production by assisting and connecting domestic growers and textile makers.
In addition to spotlighting locally made products in its stores with special shelf tags, Whole Foods Market has made more than $10 million in low-interest loans to independent farmers and food artisans via its Local Producer Loan Program. Canyon Bakehouse, a gluten-free bakery in Boulder, Colorado; Buchi Kombucha, brewers of sustainably crafted, Earth-bermed tea in Asheville, North Carolina; and Fancypants Baking Company, makers of 100 percent natural and nut-free cookies in East Walpole, Massachusetts, are examples (Tinyurl.com/WholeFoodsLocalLoans).
Iconoclastic ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s (BenJerry.com), headquartered in Waterbury, Vermont, conducts aCaring Dairy program that assists farmers to apply more sustainablepractices; buys eggs from hens in certified humanecage-free farms; and plans to transform all of its 50 flavors tonon-GMO ingredients and earn fair trade certification by theend of this year.