Cut Your Global "Stuff Miles" - Buy Durable & Household Goods Made In Your Country


Lamson & Goodnow factory operations.

Locally-produced food has been widely written on for years: from the Times to TreeHugger. Non-food items made near home have been overlooked, however. Let's change that. There was a time when durable really meant durable, meaning stuff made to last years - even generations. From a global vantage point, pro-labor nationalism is good for the a country's economy and jobs. Going beyond that conventional wisdom, my argument is that mass-produced items, made at home, made to last, using relatively harmless ingredients, well designed and constructed in compliance with health safety and environment regulations are the real "green" item. American industries still surviving the Chinese onslaught mostly stayed focused on low-volume, niche products. Other survivors featured high-end products that call for a great deal of custom assembly and finishing. Look below for some interesting North American commodity product examples of what I'm talking about. I bet you can think of plenty more.

Updates:


  • Readers have correctly pointed out that the knife shown below is in fact imported, although sold by a firm that makes many products locally. In spite of that, my chosen example stands as it was. The reason being that the mistake choice so well points out the difficulty in identifying locally made items, especially when suppliers mix local and imported items to have a diverse product line .

  • Supply chains can be diverse and complex and therefore it is not pragmatic to be absolutist in our criteria for what is defined as "local." For example, the stoneware bowl shown is likely made with Illinois clay but fired with natural gas imported by pipeline from the Gulf Coast states.

  • Some readers seemed to infer by their comments that I am indirectly arguing for "bans" or tariffs on imported goods, which is absolutely not the case. I simply want to advocate buying locally made "stuff" to the extent feasible, and without, as stated above, being too religious about every detail of material and energy input sourcing. My bottom line: manufacturers should get an "A" for effort; and we should reward them for it with our business.


Western Stoneware, established 1890, Monmouth, Illinois, U. S. A.

Western Stoneware bowl.
Lamson & Goodnow Mfg, Cutlery & Kitchen Ware Oldest cutlery manufacturer in the United States, established in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, 1837.

33688 - Batard Knife with Folding Wood Handle. Image credit:LamsonSharp catalog
More Made in USA stuff posts.
Outdoors Clothing Made in USA from Natural and Recycled Materials
Finally, a U.S.-Made Cargo Bike by Metrofiets
Fisker Working on $39,000 Plug-in Hybrid to be Sold in 2012, Made in USA

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