Made in the USA. It sure feels good to say that as an American, right?
Even as far back as 1789 when George Washington wore clothes made in America for his inauguration, there’s a feeling of pride in choosing things made on American soil.
Surveys of American consumers show that given a choice between a product made abroad and in America, about 80% would rather buy the American product.
And, not only do Americans prefer to buy products Made in the USA, many are willing to pay more for them. That’s right, about 60% of people surveyed said they would pay up to 10% more for American products than those made overseas.
Let’s look at some of the reasons why American-made matters.
The environmental impact certainly matters. The fossil fuels burned to ship products from China and India to American retailers is significant. Over the last decade, US policy coupled with technology focused on cleaner manufacturing has created more eco-friendly processes and materials.
It isn’t happening by chance. These are intentional investments American brands are making to reduce their carbon footprint.
RADIUS is no exception, committed to a reduced impact on the planet and proud of being an American company making oral care products in Pennsylvania. In 1988, we moved to a restored feed mill in Kutztown, PA. We outgrew that space in 2018 and now operate in a restored, historic silk mill.
QUALITY FOR PRODUCTS & PEOPLE
When we say quality is a major influence, there are many indirect factors we can look at that contribute to why American products might have a higher quality. When surveyed, about 85% of consumers think products made in the USA are higher quality than those made overseas. We can see that right before our eyes. RADIUS makes, packages, and ships products in small batches, keeping complete control over production from start to finish to ensure quality stays high.
Less regulations in other countries can mean cheaper costs to produce goods. Fewer environmental guidelines and mandates overseas might mean more pollution and more hazardous chemicals going into the water supply, the air, and the ground.
Not only do the lack of laws to regulate emissions matter, so do the lack of laws to regulate working conditions and human rights. Reports show that long work days (as long as 13-hour days) and unsanitary, uncomfortable sleeping conditions and unsafe working facilities are among some of the problems workers face in some countries.When products are made here in the USA, local and federal governments oversee that working conditions, wages, safety measures, and protocols are met.
The products themselves can also be below what American regulations consider safe. Chemicals that would not meet USA standards, like lead paint in children’s toys, have been found in products imported from overseas to America. Buying products made in America supports workers’ wages and safety, but also the safety of the end-user as well.
Here are some products that are American-made:
- Maglite flashlights (California);
- Airstream trailers, Little Tykes, Wilson footballs, and KitchenAid mixers (Ohio);
- Cutco knives (NY);
- RADIUS Oral Care products, Crayola crayons, Stetson hats, Slinkys, and Martin Guitars & ukuleles (Pennsylvania);
- Weber Grills (Illinois);
- Gibson guitars (Montana);
- American Eco Furniture (Georgia);
- Burt’s Bees (NC).
Make it a family outing. Go grab a look for yourself at the skill and technology that goes into making the products you love. Here are just a few of the American brands that offer factory tours where you can see first-hand the Made in USA action: Snyder’s of Hanover in Pennsylvania, Ben and Jerry’s in Vermont, Jelly Belly in Fairfield, California, Harry & David in Medford, Oregon, and Harley Davidson in both York, Pennsylvania and Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.
JOBS & THE ECONOMIC IMPACT
Let’s check out the ripple effect from buying products made in the USA. Yes, your dollar goes to help pay wages for workers in an American factory. It also helps the construction workers who get to continue building facilities and roadways needed when local economies thrive. American water and utilities companies win. American banks, accountants, and insurers win.
Your purchase goes a lot farther than you may think. For every 1 manufacturing job in the US, an additional 1.4 jobs are supported because of the ripple effect.
After the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, about 6 million American jobs were lost to outsourcing overseas over the next decade. It’s taken a long, gruely path and commitment from American government and American companies to get jobs back. More than 12 million American jobs are in manufacturing. And, they are good jobs! Manufacturers in the US are productive, provide better wages and living standards, and are more innovative than the rest of the world.
LABELS & LEARNING
Look for the Made in USA label, but don’t be fooled by look alike labels and claims. While the Federal Trade Commission has strict and specific requirements for a product to use the Made in USA label, they can’t check every product. Consumer Reports says that it’s not unusual for products made in other countries to get away with a Made in USA label, unfortunately.
There’s also a fine line with a product labeled as Made in USA versus Assembled or Designed in USA. That could still mean most of the parts are made overseas, by overseas workers and facilities and shipped here. Don’t let an American flag on a product trick you either. There are no regulations on using a USA symbol when, in fact, the product is not made in America.
Take the time to learn about which companies have factories and manufacturing in the USA. It’s important, and it’s worth your time to know and support the brands that support the local economies and beyond.