I’ve read a lot of people’s posts and it seems like a lot of you don’t believe locality can work. I want to explain my experience and how I believe it can. Over the summer I interned in a big city. Our goal was to do EVERYTHING local. We were a home store and built most of our products. The ones we built were made from all local materials. Wood that was torn down from construction ( a tree tore down for a road, a church knocked down for a new building ect.) Metal was recycled scrap metal yards, and a lot of unique looking odd pieces we got from oil rigs (don’t worry they gave them to us)! We used this to make big pieces of furniture. Some of the employees made the smaller pieces (like me), and received commission for that piece. I made mine from old, ugly, cheap craigslist pieces and made them beautiful. The other pieces we had were made from local artisans. All of our artisans had different backgrounds, different reasons for making the piece, and different materials so they were all unique! My favorite was the artist who made amazing lighting units! It wasn’t even hard for us to get our material once we figured out how to find them. We also sold local drinks and coffee to all patrons! I absolutely loved it, and promise it isn’t as difficult as it sounds!
With that said ever since my internship I am obsessed with locality and believe it is possible. Maybe not 100% in every situation, but it can be done mostly.
I loved the article but also it made me depressed. I truly don’t understand why companies use so many materials, when they can get recycled for the same price and local for the same price, and in some cases cheaper. It just makes sense that sense they are using so much money is gas they would save money on the gas prices and driver hours if they got items more local. For example, highly durable timber framed windows are cheaper than uPVC and saved some 6% of the total environmental impact of the BedZED project and 12.5% of the total CO2 emissions. Another example. local FSC green oak weatherboarding is cheaper than brick and shows a life cycle cost saving over imported softwoods. Reclaimed structural steel and timber are available cheaper than new and offer 96% and 83% savings in environmental impact. The problem here is a ‘no brainer’ to me. I know that it can be hard to get a lot of local materials here in Oklahoma. However, we can definitely start a sustainable tree farm. There are TONS of trees in the Arbuckle mountains and if we grew trees as we cut them down we could get local woods for a cheaper price; even if the wood is as expensive or a little more expensive, the company would save a ton on trucks, gas, and salary for the long distance driver. I hope to learn more about locality and ways that sustainable products can be as price efficient as new ones!