Tuesday, January 8, 2008

It's not a perfect world...or a perfect bag

It's been a huge challenge for me to come up with GREEN ways to get the word out about Betty.

There's a double meaning in that: green meaning environmentally-friendly, of course, but also meaning I don't have much green as in greenbacks (Betty is currently funded by private donations). Betty is relying heavily on word-of-mouth as well as a modest 100% recycled-paper postcard/flier you may have seen around town. And today I just picked up the 100% recycled cotton Betty Tote Bag thanks in large part to the following Charlottesville business sponsors: Integral Yoga, Nature's Child, Rebecca's, and Blue Ridge Eco Shop.

There's only one problem with the bag. Right underneath 100% recycled cotton and the words econscious.net: "made in Pakistan."

Now I knew they were going to come from overseas because I've been around about and around again over this issue for months. Stewing about it. I see bags all over town, but they are all made outside the U.S. - one even advertised itself a "green bag" and literally the only green thing about it is that it isn't plastic and you have the ability to use it over and over again (which you could do with any receptacle really).

I wanted to find a bag used from no new materials and that was made on this hemisphere. Little did I know that it is virtually impossible (and please correct me if I'm wrong on this). Maybe you know someone close by that makes bags out of their backyard bamboo farm, but I have not found that person.

I was toying with the idea of using a newly-awarded green company - reusablebags.com, but I didn't want my money to go elsewhere. I wanted to use a local Charlottesville business to keep in line with Betty's goal of acting and buying locally.

That's when I ran into a very helpful designer, Seth, at Crazy Horse Studios - he gave me the whole low down on bags and how difficult it is find any suppliers that don't come from overseas. He told me of a company, American Apparel, that is based in Los Angeles, and is one of the few companies offering large quantities of organic cotton material. Unfortunately they don't offer bags yet .

Then he showed me this line from econscious.net that was the only company I had seen making their bags from 100% recycled cotton. They maintain fair employment practices and are committed to using organic as well as recycled material. But it still boggles me why they can't manufacture the bags here in the US. (I have a feeling the answer has a lot to do with that green I talked about earlier)

Because you can't fit a lot of groceries into an fair-business, organic cotton, U.S. manufactured t-shirt, I went with the "econscious" tote (now you understand the quotes). So until something better comes along, this will have to do. Betty would say, It's not about being "perfect" world Polyanna, just "better" world Betty! In the meantime I have sent a letter to the company econscious.net and will continue the search.



ChrEliz said...

American Apparel is not exactly a model comapny, either, though. Personally, I'd prefer what you've got now to a tote bag made by AA.


That last link, AA clothes will make you look like a fat hooker, is HILAROUS. Totally worth checking out.

Christine Gresser (from TJMC)

ChrEliz said...

Sorry about the problem links; just google "american apparel fat hooker" and you'll find that vlog entry and it links to the others... no time right now to do TinyURL, maybe later!