04 June 2008

Wear a Little Green

I get one of those daily “tips for going green” emails, I won’t say which, and I have to say I find them a little- well- biased. Some of the tips are interesting and informative- I found a really effective homeopathic nasal spray that puts a stop to my worst allergy symptoms- but others make me scratch my head and wonder if some people aren’t just “going green” to satisfy their shopping addictions.

Yesterday, for example, I received an email encouraging the purchase of organic cotton denim- a great idea, in theory, until I scrolled down and the list of recommended products ranged from $40 to $350 for a pair of jeans. Now, maybe some people regularly spend this much money on their pants, but not I. And really, when you think about it, what’s so sustainable about buying new pairs of jeans, organic or not? To make them, someone still had to grow the cotton, ship it to a factory, turn it into denim, dye it, ship it to another factory, assemble the jeans, use all kinds of metal bits (which had to be mined) for the rivets and the zipper (made in another factory), and finally ship the jeans to a store, where you had to drive- unless of course you ordered online, in which case they had to be shipped to you- either method of which involves packaging in the form of tags, plastic bags, and shipping materials.


On the other hand, if you’re really in need of “green” jeans, you could head on down to the local thrift store. The jeans may not be brand-spanking new- no pun intended- but I guarantee they won’t cost $40. They may not even cost $10. And (best of all) you skip that lengthy process of producing the new pair, often support good causes, and keep perfectly good clothing from hitting the trash. Remember the four R’s- reduce, REUSE, recycle, renew. Producing with fewer chemicals is a good plan when it comes to the things you want to buy new- probably your underwear- but otherwise doesn’t do much to stop the massive over consumption of resources and fossil fuels that presents the biggest hurdle to sustainability. And it doesn’t start with R.

So where to begin? In Chestertown, you have two basic options:
Nearly New, on High Street (I found my favorite pair of cherry red heels there)
WIN (Women in Need), next to the Dollar General on Philosopher’s Terrace (which also donates proceeds to, you guessed it, women in need)

Either will provide quality, lightly loved clothing, housewares, furniture, and most anything else you can imagine, at a low, low price. Now that’s sustainable.

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