Monday, April 16, 2012

A Greener shade of Jean

Do a quick internet search on the benefits of recycling.

You'll read facts about everything from turning plastic bottles into ball point pens to using cardboard tubes to hold your extension cords. What you will most likely not discover in your internet surf is this simple fact: Buying new consumer products will fill our landfills, deplete our resources, and ruin our earth.

How about a pair of jeans? Consumer Reports (c) lists two pages of helpful advise on their free access site and the top 100 jean choices for men and women with the subscription service. Assuming not everyone who reads this will have the subscription service and that Consumer Reports (c) would not want us sharing that information, let's just say that any choice is fine.

According to the website article titled "How Green Are Your Jeans", "Some 450 million pairs of jeans are sold in the United States each year -- 1.5 pairs for every man, woman, and child."

Here are some facts from the article on what it takes to make a pair of jeans:

"About 1,500 gallons of water are required to produce the 1.5 pounds of cotton used to make a single pair of jeans, not including the water used to dye and finish the fabric."

(on cotton farmer's usage of oil) "about a pound is required to harvest enough cotton for a single pair of jeans."

"Brass is used to fashion the zippers, buttons, and rivets found on jeans, and brass is m
ade from copper and zinc. Extracting and processing these minerals comes with a whole slew of nasty side effects, from acid mine drainage to air pollution laden with toxic metals such as cadmium and lead."

"Water samples taken downstream from textile plants in Tehuacan,
Mexico, a major denim-producing region, have been shown to contain lead, mercury, cadmium, and selenium."

"Cotton yarn is typically "sized" with starch to increase its strength for weaving, bathed in oil-derived paraffin to smooth and lubricate it, and, in some cases, "mercerized" in caustic soda, which gives it a worn look. Starch biodegrades, but when dumped in waterways the microbes that eat it also consume oxygen. Aquatic life depends on that oxygen, and starch is just one of many chemical treatments, including dyes, that deplete it. Caustic soda, a key ingredient in Drano, can kill aquatic life and burn workers."

The article goes on to tout the makers of eco-friendly manufacturing
companies and the reduction of such waste and damage to the environment. While I applaud them for the effort and enjoyed the article immensely, here's a better plan. Buy used jeans. Buy new old stock. Not only can you save money, but you can eliminate 100% of the damage to the environment and waste of resources.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. - Charles W. Eliot

A favorite book of mine is The Modern Family Adviser, published by Statford Press in 1965. This illustrated, encyclopedic-length library copy has been shelved in my home for years. More often, it acts as a bookend to my lighter volumes, but it has come to the rescue of household turmoil on more than one occasion.

The Modern Family Adviser has taught me that, yes, termites like carpet as much as they like wood. Varnish can be cleaned with alcohol and benzol. Men start dancing the Charleston with your left foot forward, but ladies start by pointing their right foot without putting weight on it. A handshake between a lady and gentleman is considered proper if the lady offers her hand first.

With this evidence of worth, I'm sure you will understand if I occasionally quote from it, or even fill the day's blog with an excerpt.

Today, I wanted to share an excerpt from the chapter in Hobbies, titled Collecting, page seven-hundred and sixteen.

"There are more adherents to the collecting hobbies than there are of any other type of hobby. Collecting satisfies the acquisitive nature of humanity. Most of us take pride in having most of "this", the greatest of "that", the "only" specimen or "one of the few" specimens left, etc.

On the more positive side, collecting can be a worth-while and pleasurable way of spending leisure time. Unlike most hobbies, collecting can be made to fit any budget. As your collection grows, it will become part of your life; it will make you a more interesting person, and it will make you spend money which you would have spent otherwise.

Some hobbyists hunt lone-wolf fashion, others work in packs. To get the most out of your hobby, you should become acquainted with others of similar interests. There are usually local or national organizations for most established collection hobbies. These are valuable in that they help you to keep informed of new developments, new "finds", of exhibits and auctions. Through their publications you are given an opportunity to buy, sell, or trade with other collectors.

The simplest way to start a collection is merely to start. You and only you can decide what to collect. Having made that decision you are on your way to hours of happy and interesting activity."

So... what do you collect?