When people think about manufacturers going overseas, the main concern often focuses around the lost jobs and wages. While this is definitely an important issue, it isn’t the only one. Environmental issues are also a key concern. Like most people today, we at Sherrill Manufacturing support the preservation of a clean and safe environment. We are also hunters, fishermen, campers and outdoor enthusiasts who like to breathe clean air and drink healthy, uncontaminated water. Our children, grandchildren and spouses live in the same community where our factory resides. That’s why we strive to meet and exceed environmental regulations in our factory.
We avoid using toxic chemicals, oils and lubes in our processes. We filter our buffering units in order to avoid sending dust particles into the air. Our raw material suppliers of stainless steel, buffing compound, packaging supplies and more are also American companies that produce their goods following the same responsible environmental standards. Our energy source is mainly hydroelectric through the City of Sherrill program coming from Niagara Falls hydro-power.
All of these efforts, some based on regulations and others simply good, responsible business practices, add costs to our processes. While we would never condone eliminating legislation, we must recognize that many of the companies overseas do not adhere to the same standards, and therefore have a cost advantage based on their manufacturing methods. Unfortunately, this creates a built-in disadvantage for responsible American manufacturers versus their overseas competition. In the flatware industry, we estimate this is about 20 percent of the cost of goods sold.
Undoubtedly, you have seen images in newspapers, magazines and on the news of the deplorable environmental conditions in some countries, including China, where environmental legislation is either not in place or not enforced. An unfortunate side effect of globalization is that, due to cost opportunities, many manufacturers have chosen to move their manufacturing away from regulated clean countries to unregulated, polluting countries. Add to all of this the environmental damage caused by transporting goods on cargo ships halfway around the world, and the picture becomes clear – choosing “Made in America” products just makes sound environmental sense, not just for our country – but globally.
Supporting U.S. manufacturing by purchasing products made in this country is one way of supporting a healthy, clean environment at home, and conversely is a way of rejecting the environmentally irresponsible practices of many overseas manufacturers. It is our hope that one day, legislators will recognize the dichotomy and level the playing field, thus encouraging environmentally responsible behavior around the world. Until that happens you can vote directly with your wallet and support environmentally responsible manufacturing by buying American Made products!