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Recently I was asked on a project to provide a list of all interior materials and the location where the product was made.  Sounds easy, but as I went off to do my job I found it was not.

The concern comes from LEED credits available for using a product where the raw materials and manufacturer is within 500 miles of the construction site.  The goal is to encourage buying brick from the next state rather than have it shipped across the country.  If everyone purchased materials this way then collectively less gas etc. would be used. 

But what about all the lesser materials like floor tile, ceilings, countertop materials like Corian, sinks, faucets, and all sorts of other products.  Wouldn’t it be more sustainable if these products were at least made in the USA?  A web research into various products came up empty handed.  Time and time again there were pages and pages of product information but none on where the various products within one company were made.  Several instances stick in my mind.

One was an obvious American company like Formica with only corporate address info and nothing on plant locations or where anything was made.  Did they have a plant in China?  Another example was a company with a name like “American Products Inc.”  At least I could assume I found a company making goods in the USA but upon further investigation it was a subsidiary of a company from Germany; an obvious ploy in sustainable product marketing to get consumers to buy foreign products.

The only way I could get to the bottom was to call the factory representative or the company itself.  Even then most did not know where their stuff was made.

Buyers beware for sure!!

- Rob Smith


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