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Made in China vs Made in USA: Which is more sustainable? Part 2

Made in China vs Made in USA: Which is more sustainable? Part 2

Posted by Ken Jacobus on 8th Dec 2021

In part 1 of this 2 part series, we disclosed some of the tolls that even our own "green" products can have on the environment. In this post, we are going to share a few of the things we are doing to improve upon those issues.

What We’re Doing to Improve

While we can’t eliminate the environmental impact of the transportation of our products, we partner with responsible manufacturers who take steps to ensure their “green” products are as green as possible. For example, our partner, World Centric voluntarily offsets all the CO2 emissions involved in the transportation and manufacturing of their products. This typically involves a complex calculation to determine the CO2 emitted for each case of product made and then purchasing offsets in the form of investments in renewable energy or in planting thousands of trees that absorb this same amount of CO2.

Buy Local

We also look for suppliers which have local factories or which ship in very large quantities to our warehouse area due to other customers in the area. Companies like World Centric are actively looking to start manufacturing more products in the United States and specifically near the largest markets for their products, such as California. So we try to reward them with a disproportionate share of our purchasing.

Buying in Bulk

While we thought we were buying in bulk, we realized after this bag purchase that we need to grow further and order less frequently so that we can fill up an entire tractor trailer of 26 pallets. Doing so would eliminate 250 additional miles from the trip our bags took (50 gallons of diesel fuel savings at the average 5 MPG) plus all the loading and unloading at terminals and transit time. All this reduces our costs which allows us to serve clients better anyway.

What other ideas do you have for manufacturers and distributors to reduce the impact the products they sell have on the environment? How important do you think it is to buy products made in USA versus other parts of the world? What premium would you pay for this? Feel free to share your ideas in the comments below.

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Ken Jacobus is CEO and founder of Good Start Packaging. He works with restaurants and other organizations around the U.S. to help them find the best sustainable alternatives to traditional plastic take out food containers. When not busy trying to eliminate landfills and plastic, he hikes, bikes, skis, reads, and plays with his family around his home in southern New Hampshire.