A lot of things don’t make too much sense lately and trying to wrap my mind around all of it, leaves me rather puzzled.
I was sitting in the bathroom -minding my own business- when my husbands work shirt got my attention. My husband is a sweet man, he thinks that he won’t wake me up in the morning, if he gets dressed in the bathroom. The fact, that he stumps around like an elephant and, that he is noisiest human being on this planet when he brushes his teeth, must have slipped his attention completely.
I was reading the label of his work shirt. It said:
Made in Honduras of US Fabric.
What? I am a little bit sleep deprived lately, what I read didn’t make any sense to me. I was sitting “there” in the middle of the night, trying to remember exactly where Honduras was. Central America, right? Down there by Costa Rica and Nicaragua? Wouldn’t one have to drive through Mexico to go there? I estimated it to be a thousand miles at least. Now I know its around 1,900 miles from Texas to Honduras.
I don’t mean to sound stupid, but how does a Fabric become an US fabric? Doesn’t it mean the fabric has to be “born and raised” here?
I thought most of our textile mills have been vacated and now people in India, China and Mexico -just to name a few- would spool, spin and sew for a few dollars a day or less.
It didn’t leave me alone and I started to research it. Not even Mr. Google could answer me when I asked to define “Made in Honduras of US Fabric”. (Shame on you Mr. Google!)
I know we have cotton fields, so I started to read up on it. What I found was stunning and the following are numbers from the National Cotton Council (yes, there is such a thing).
Here are a few interesting facts:
- Historically, China is the largest grower of cotton. The average production for the years 2010 through 2012 was approximately 33 million bales of cotton. India is second, with 26.8 million bales of production for the same time period. The U.S. is third, with average production of 17.0 million bales of cotton for the years 2010 through 2012.
- A bale of cotton weighs about 500 pounds.
- U.S. textile mills have spun almost 3.6 million bales of cotton on average for the past 3 years. That’s enough cotton to make over 750 million pairs of jeans.
First question that came to my mind: What happens to the 13.4 million bales of cotton that aren’t used for textiles? What else can you do with it?
- About two thirds of the harvested crop is composed of the seed, which is crushed to separate its three products–oil, meal and hulls. Cottonseed oil is a common component of many food items, used primarily as a cooking oil, shortening and salad dressing. The oil is used extensively in the preparation of such snack foods as crackers, cookies and chips. The meal and hulls are used as livestock, poultry and fish feed and as fertilizer. (Yikes!)
Now I know we have enough cotton to produce US Fabric.
What really floors me is the fact, that we must transport the fabric about 2,000 miles to have the t-shirts made in Honduras and then we transported them back about 2,000, so that we can sell the polo shirt saying “Made in Honduras of US Fabric” for $27.99 a piece online and in our stores.
I drive around and see empty houses, buildings and malls. I see people working for minimum wage at chair stores, where they get screwed out of any benefits with a 28/hr work week. I see unemployed people, who really want to work. I read about prisoners sitting in prisons doing nothing, besides being bored.
Sometimes I think the whole world has gone mad?
I am almost afraid to ask, but how about we produce the shirts here, instead of transporting them back and forth? Would it be really a big deal if the shirt would cost $35 instead of $27.99?
Maybe I don’t have a clue, but now I am curious if there are other labels like:
Made in the US of US Fabric
Made in the US of foreign fabric
Made in China with fabric of India
Fascinating, what I think about it in the middle of the night isn’t it?