As I was washing a new fleece yesterday, using all that water, I kept thinking about being green, and what that means to each of us.
If you heard my interview with Brenda Dayne on her pod cast Cast-on (episode 63), you heard me say that I worry how everyone is tossing the word "green" around. It seems to be everywhere these days. It reminds me of what we've seen over the decades with the word "organic"...and how it got abused and overused. Even Wal-Mart has jumped on the Green Wagon, hoping to make you feel all warm and cozy about spending your green dollars there.
While I had my telephone interview with Brenda, she had a brilliant idea, to my mind, anyway. I waited to see if she'd bring it up on air, and since she didn't, I want to open the dialog here.
What if the yarn industry had a rating system so consumers could make informed choices on their purchases?
Think about it. You walk into a yarn shop and look at a skein of yarn, and wonder how "green" it really is. Then you flip the tag and see how it's rated...maybe a system of stars...or ????
Imagine an industry rating system based on questions like some of these:
- Where did the fibers come from? Were they man-made, and where? What pollution was caused as a result of their manufacture?
- How about the people who work in the factories to make this happen: are they getting paid a living wage?
- What practices are used for dyeing? Is it a process that uses excessive amounts of non-recycled water? Is it polluting area water systems? Are the workers protected adequately?
- What kind of chemicals were used in the process of spinning these yarns? Has anyone ever wondered about how things like soy and bamboo and some of the other exciting new yarns are made? I'd like to know what chemicals and ingredients are involved to bring these to our doorstep...
- What's the carbon footprint for the skein you're holding?
These are just a few things that come to mind after only one cup of coffee.
And while I'm on the subject, does anyone think about how wool is processed to make it "super wash"? At one point in history, I was told by someone from the local wool mill that a product like Teflon was used to tame those pesky wool scales. Now I imagine it's probably some hideous chemical that eats them right off. Imagine what you might be wearing next to your skin to save the trouble of a ten minute soak in a sink (with all due respect to those who have time constraints and machine wash for a big family).
I welcome your thoughts on this subject. Do you have more questions about where your yarns are coming from? Please add to my list! Perhaps we can start a bit of grass roots movement to help us be more aware when we spend our hard earned dollars.
And what about my work? I use water collected from my roof for my dyeing and wool washing. I use a dye system that allows me to use the same pot of water over and over, and with clear strikes, so there is no dye residue left in a dye bath needing to be tossed out. My wool washing water (using Seventh Generation soap) is stored and recycled as grey water for use in our garden.
Now...off to start the day. I hope you all have a great week...and I look forward to hearing your ideas about all of this. ---Martie