A November 16, 2012 research report released by The Boston Consulting Group says that over 80 percent of consumers in the United States and 60 percent of those in China are willing to pay more for “Made in USA” labeled products. All age and wage brackets are concerned about quality with 85 percent of U.S. and 82 percent Chinese feeling USA is higher quality. There are several reasons why American made products make green gifts.
Quality products will last longer so that is the first reason American made gifts are considered green, with less waste being created. The second reason is the fact that they are not transported around the world using as much energy resources. A third is that the United States has regulatory
agencies that help protect consumers from unhealthy, unsafe products, more so than other countries, and with labeling like Energy Star familiar to consumers. The fourth is that most employees in the United States work in regulated safe environments and are paid fairer wages.
Other factors that make a gift green are they:
- are something worth using up the resources to produce them–food and clothing, for example
- are made from reused, recycled or renewable materials
- do not contain harmful chemicals to humans, wildlife or the environment like lead, phthalates, bisphenol A, pesticides, fragrances (a disguise word for phthalates), and Volatile Organic Compounds
- have the least possible environmental impact from resources used to make, use and dispose of them
- are not made from anything endangered
- have minimal packaging, or packaging that is recyclable or refillable
- directly benefit environmental causes and organizations
- actually benefit the environment if possible
- do not require batteries
- are not disposable
- are not made of plastic or any other petroleum or natural gas product
- do not pollute drinking water
- use FSC certified wood if they contain wood, not any harvested from tropical forests
- do not contain bleach or dyes
- do not involve cruelty to animals for testing
- are made in safe work environments for fair wages like Fair Trade and Conflict Free
- are bought in bulk when possible
- do not put the purchaser in debt
Unfortunately there is not one accepted label for “green” products, and some that may be called green or “eco” are really not. Every purchase will not be great for the earth, but understanding how purchasing decisions can affect the environment creates more green consumers. View the attached video of what to look for in green and fair trade gifts.
Part 2 will suggest websites, companies and organizations for finding green gifts.