This question has a variety of answers, depending on what perspective you are bringing to the table.
In terms of fuel used in transport, usually less fuel is used to transport goods within the U.S. than between countries. However, this too depends on where the product is coming from and where it is going to.
The U.S. has laws restricting environmental pollution, which sometimes make it more expensive to run a manufacturing plant. So, this encourages companies to locate facilities in areas that do not have as strict of regulation. So, by purchasing products made outside the U.S. you may also be supporting greater levels of pollution that would be created if that product had been made in the U.S.
Supporting the production of domestically made products helps in a general sense to stimulate our economy. Purchasing American made products is a way to reinvest our funds into our economy. Many large corporations have started outsourced jobs to cheaper nations and increased importing products, sacrificing American jobs and lowering product standards.
It is always best to support local industry when you can because it will cut down on transportation pollution, and it will stimulate the economy that you live in. There are many more regulations on industry in the US than in some of the other developing countries where manufacturing is outsourced to. Buying things that are made in the US ensures that you are supporting growers or factories that follow rules. Some of those rules are health and safety conditions, like not making people work in fields that are sprayed with toxic pesticides or allowing workers to take breaks, paying live-able wages, not polluting chemicals and toxins into the air or water sources, and quality control to make sure that products are safe for consumers. This is not to say that anything made out side of the US is failing to follow these rules, but that you don’t necessarily know whether they are or not.
Actually, all the arguments about more environmentally friendly transport of goods within US instead of importing them are often wrong. National Geographic ran a story (May 2009 issue) where they compared the carbon footprint of shipping wine to Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York from wine producers in California, Australia, Chile, and France. Guess which route had the smallest carbon footprint? France to New York (0.3 lbs CO2 per bottle). Guess the two highest ones? California to New York (4.4 lbs) and to Chicago (3.2 lbs). Why? Trucks are a lot less efficient than container ships for moving cargo.
So next time, think whether a cross-country delivery is really that much better than a ship from half the world away.
Cerberus makes a good point. While longer distance shipments tend to be more efficient overall, the best bet is to buy as locally as possible. America is a big place, and as was pointed out, NY and LA, for example, are far enough away that they may as well be in different countries. Try to buy products and food from the closest points possible to eliminate as much shipping as possible.
Be aware that many things “made in USA” (cars, clothes, houses, TV sets) are made from materials that are imported. In recent years, 25% to 42% of US copper (mostly used in building construction) was imported. Aluminum ore, barite, neodymium, lanthanum, lithium, antimony, cobalt and more are in “American” cars and all are imported. Some phosphate rock for fertilizer to grow US cotton is imported. Indium in US-made flat-panel devices is imported. There is not much that is produced in the US on any sort of large scale that uses only US resources.
The point is simply that there is much more to “made in USA” than equating that statement with “buying locally.”
Click here to cancel reply.
Sorry,At this time user registration is disabled. We will open registration soon!
Don't have an account? Click Here to Signup
© Copyright GreenAnswers.com LLC