Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It's easy being China-free.....

... when you're poor! :-)

I'm finding it hard to come up with much content as we've done pretty much no consumer good purchasing so far this fall. So far our money has gone to:

New roof
New furnace
New tires for car
fixing dishwasher
fixing A/C unit
lead abatement

and now we're trying to figure out some cheap renos to make our hideous bathroom somewhat liveable. Hm. Is this funky toilet MIC? Because I'm obsessed with it now.

So, all that to say.... go read the other blog until my socks and undies become too desperate to avoid replacing.... and then I'll be shopping around. ;-)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hat-tip to L

For sending me this article, reminding me that it's not just about the toys. When will the West be willing to gamble it's need for cheap STUFF in order to confront China about its many human rights abuses.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Another mainstream media source gets on board

Good lord I had no idea it was this bad. Well maybe I did.

"Koeppen says there simply aren't that many U.S.-made toys. Some eighty-percent of toys sold in the U.S. are manufactured in China, so it requires some digging. "

Still looking for "Made in Canada" input from my Canadian readers! And also, looking for make-up sources that are made domestically.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

YAY for Canadians


51% of Canadians checking for made-in-China label: poll

(let's just assume the other 49% are already not buying MIC stuff, right? riiiiight?)

The survey also reported:
43 per cent are making an effort to buy more made-in-Canada goods because of the recall.
81 per cent said it's impossible to avoid products made in China.
83 per cent said Chinese products sold in Canada should carry a label of origin stamp.
62 per cent said Canada should consider a ban on Chinese goods until China establishes more stringent safety controls.

This is encouraging to me because reading the label means more awareness about where "things come from... even if it's not from China, where is it from? As I've said over and over, this isn't just about China, this is about thinking consciously about consumer choices.

As we say on an email list I'm on, "Once your consciousness has been raised, it cannot be lowered".

Happy label-reading all!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hey I'm plagarizing myself! From my other blog....

In the interests of actually getting to do some laundry today, I bring you a special report instead of actually um, writing one myself. Thanks, Mike!

Krista, Your crack, China-free researcher reporting in from the wilds of Vermont. While planning fun and exciting day trips for two small wonderkunds, several original American treasures were found that should be featured prominately on your China-free sites.

Michael & Paul will be visiting the first company today and can send a more detailed report later on how successful they were in prying cash from the crack researcher's wallet to bring home samples of the work this company does.

You can check out their products, as well as their own China-free ethos (look for the china with red circle and slash on the home page) at the following internet destination.

The second company offers a wide, wide selection of items, including flannel shirts from Ireland, hats from New Zealand, oldtimey food items from around the world (like the old fashioned candies your grandmother probably put out for the holidays) and many American made products. This company does carry some items from China, but in this researcher's experience is open about the source of their products. Check these folks out at

Please place this information on one or both of your China-free sites in the appropriate places. Further reports forthcoming as the research continue.

Your Intrepid Researcher
(ps, the wife says Hi!)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Shopping for work clothes at TJMaxx

Dh was in desperate need of some work clothes, we've been budgeting for it as we knew it would be an expense for the fall, and to make the most of our wee budget we of course went to TJMaxx, one of our favourite pre-China-free stores.

I wandered around in the kids toy section with the boys while B looked for some clothing. My goal was to find anything not MIC (Made-in-China). Success! ONE book about Lightning McQueen which was "manufactured in Mexico" (am I a conspiracy theorist? why does "manufactured" make me suspicious... ) and to my absolute JOY I discovered that every single book by Sandra Boynton was "Made in USA". We LOVE Boynton in our house and this is going to help out a lot to know that her stuff isn't on the MIClist.

Back to the clothes shopping however.... funny how I so rarely read the label on clothing.... there was a hefty Asian contingent in the men's shirt department. Vietnam was pretty popular as was of course our good friend China. Thailand made some appearances as did India, Korea and Indonesia.

I would say our foray was about 75% successful. Certainly it was much easier to avoid China, but of course then you're just going to other Asian countries which may or may not have better work standards, and still face the same environmental concerns. One of his shirts was by Luciano Ceccarelli - guess where that was made. ;-) We couldn't find a single thing made domestically in the dress shirts and pants department. We couldn't find a single tie not made in China, either. Looking for some options in that regard.

So, we're not batting 100%. But luckily for us this isn't about achieving absolute perfection. :-) This was a real eyeopener and really showed me how difficult finding locally or at least domestically made clothing is going to be. But we shall find it! (with your help, dear readers! please post your tips and links in the comments section)

No blood for toys

Check out this link:


I love the graphic.

"China is now by far the world's largest manufacturer of toys, with exports worth some $3 billion a year. But, says the Coalition report, the thriving industry's 1.3 million workers, mostly females in their teens or slightly older, "fail to gain their due rewards" and are grossly exploited in other ways--to the point that their "lives are even sacrificed for the sake of economic interests." Since the toys are made in China under contract, the foreign company buying the toys "focus only on design and the marketing of its products," and seldom concern themselves with how the workers making the product are treated. "

Who knew.... boycotting Chinese made products also gets in feminist points. ;-) Rock on.

(Thanks Laureen for the headsup on the link)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Welcome to our experiment

During a very long drive down from Canada to our new home in Cincinnati, my husband and I talked a lot about how the consumer choices we are making are affecting our family's health, our environment, and our community. Fueled in part by the reports this summer of the pollutants and dangerous chemicals in children's toys coming from China, and also by our younger son's high lead level which we suspect may have come from contaminated toys, we felt a desire to make some kind of personal, family statement.

We decided that what the heck... we were going to try and have a China-free year... from September to September. To at very least, start to be more aware about where the products we buy come from, and at best, seek out carefully made domestic products, and also add to our community by buying locally.

Knowing that this goal would seem crazy and totally impossible to most of our family and friends, we've instead invited them (and you!) to join us in a China-free Christmas. You can read about THAT particular journey (and we invite your comments and suggestions) HERE.

Consumers in the US and Canada are so used to paying cheap prices for goods. "Dollar" stores abound. We clamour for $8 tee-shirts and cheap electronics. But what is the real cost of this cost savings? How many tankers must chug their polluting selves across the ocean to divest their plastic loads onto this continent, to satisfy our need for cheap? What would happen if we bought locally? If we bought things that were not mass-produced? Would we buy less? Would the things we buy last longer, if well-made? Would we just go crazy and have China-free burnout within weeks and go back to our usual ways?

Join us and find out. We challenge you to set a "China-free" goal for yourself and see what changes you can make in your life, however small. This isn't a contest, or about who is more committed, or whatever.... this is about becoming conscious. Becoming aware. And for maybe a little while, questioning the way our economy is driven, and by whom.