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Factory Vintage has just put out a free download on how to build a sustainable clothing display rack using reclaimed pallets. The step by step PDF goes into to detail on what supplies are needed and how to assemble the display. What better way to show off amazing reclaimed pieces than on a sustainable display rack made of reclaimed items.
Sweatshops and child labor are a growing problem, particularly in clothing and textiles. No one wants to buy products made with sweatshop labor, but it is hard to know what to avoid, and where to find green and Fair Trade products.
Corporate greed and global competition to produce goods at the lowest possible price are the main reasons for the existence of sweatshops. It’s much more cost-effective for corporations to subcontract their manufacturing to suppliers who produce goods cheaply by minimizing worker salaries and benefits, skimping on factory and dormitory upkeep and standards, and demanding high levels of productivity (long hours and big quotas) from their workers.
Developing countries desperately need foreign investment, and therefore compete with one another to produce goods more and more cheaply, allowing US corporations to dictate their purchase prices. As reported by the business journal Fast Company in December 2003, Wal-Mart (the country’s largest retailer) actually implements a corporate policy of requiring its vendors to continually seek ever-lower prices for its products. “[Wal-Mart] has a clear policy for suppliers,” writes Fast Company’s Charles Fishman. “On basic products that don’t change, the price Wal-Mart will pay, and will charge shoppers, must drop year after year.”
As retailers compete with one another by seeking lowest-cost workers, they put pressure on suppliers to keep their costs down, and they encourage consumers to buy more at “discount” prices. This market for cheap goods then squeezes factory owners to pinch even more. The result is forced overtime, low wages, punishments and fines for slow work and mistakes, worker intimidation, child labor, and other abuses.
What you can do to make a difference.
Unfortunately, no overarching “sweatshop-free” label exists. Some independent monitors follow the supply chains of companies that pay a fee for that service and help facilitate follow-up correction programs for factories found to be in violation of labor standards. Because conditions can change rapidly at factories, often these companies do not go on record endorsing particular companies or factories. For some select industries, however, dedication to recycling efforts has resulted in useful Vintage labeling for a handful of products. For example, Dust Factory combats the existence of child labor in the apparel industry by recycling vintage products to re-issue back into the fashion industry. Labeling specific items with a Vintage Tag, letting consumers know that the item is eco-friendly and child-labor-free.
By purchasing products that are recycled, fairly traded, cooperatively produced, or produced in a unionized factory, you can help end sweatshop and forced child labor. Many other well-respected organizations have called boycotts to put an end to unfair labor practices, animal testing, dangerous pesticide use, and other abuses of people and resources.Whether you’re protesting treatment of workers at a national retail chain or mobilizing against the construction of a waste dump in your community, a boycott can help you get the attention of your community and the company you are targeting.
The Worlds Largest Rooftop garden has just kicked off it’s second growing season.
The second season is in full swing for the rooftop urban farmers at Brooklyn Grange Located atop a six-story 1919 warehouse. Krista Leahy at Inhabitat just did a great piece on this 40,000 square foot organic rooftop farm built by Bromley Caldari architects on a random rooftop in Brooklyn.
“After a successful first growing and selling season that began last spring, the farmers at Brooklyn Grange are continuing their production of organic produce that includes 40 varietals of juicy tomatoes, peppers, fennel, salad greens, kale, swiss chard, beans of all sorts and a variety of delicious root vegetables like beets, carrots, and radishes, as well as plenty of herbs.”
Brooklyn Grange’s organic produce is grown in 7.5″ deep beds with rooflite soil. This soil is produces by Pennsylvania soil company Skyland, Rooflite. This special soil is a lightweight soil composed of organic matter compost and small porous stones wich break down to add trace minerals that are needed for the produce to grow into a healthy mature state. The farm has a nine month growing season and everything that they grow is sustainable and good for you. In the winter time they used cover-crops like rye, buckwheat, vetch and clove to produce year around.
Brooklyn Grange is looking to expand to many more rooftops in an attempt to increase the education and training available to those interested in urban farming. Check out their website at brooklyngrangefarm.com
Source & Images Courtesy of Inhabitat
The Murakami chair’s attached lamp is powered by kinetic energy produced from the chair’s rocking back and forth deliciously simple and elegant. Oh, and that lampshade? Not a lampshade. That’s the actual OLED light source, shaped like a lampshade. The OLED lamp even senses when it’s light or dark out, and if it’s light, stores the energy produced by rocking in a battery pack until nightfall. The chair, designed by Rochus Jacob, rightfully shared first prize at the DesignBoom Green Life Competition.
Algae is considered the next big break through in bio fuels. That slimy, slippery stuff might also be a key to paper thin biodegradable batteries according to researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden. These batteries could soon compete with commercial lithium-ion batteries.
According to Inhabitat.:”Conducting polymers have long been thought to be a solution in developing lightweight, flexible, nonmetal batteries. But up until now, these polymers have had been impractical because regular paper canâ€™t hold enough of them work effectively. Now Uppsala researcher Maria Stromme and her team has found that the smelly algae species that clumps on beaches, known as Cladophora, can also be used to make a type of cellulose that has 100 times the surface area of cellulose found in paper. That means it can hold enough conducting polymers to effectively recharge and hold electricity for long amounts of time.”
“The algae-based paper sheet batteries hold up to 200% more charge than regular paper-based cellulose batteries, and they can recharge in as little as 11 seconds. Eventually, they could be used in any application that requires flexible electronics â€” for example, clothing or packaging that lights up. Perhaps most importantly, the algae batteries could one day cut down on e-waste from conventional metal batteries.”