Know where your product comes from. It’s no surprise that countries that permit oppressive labor practices also have lax environmental regulations. Companies outsource manufacturing to overseas factories because the overall cost of manufacturing is cheap, not just the labor. It is well known that China has become the western worlds dumping ground for toxic garbage. Internally, the same problem applies. Here in the US large companies complain about the cost of properly disposing of their waste, but shouldn’t we expect them to do that? Well, more and more we do here in the US, so companies move manufacturing overseas where they can behave irresponsibly and neglect the environment. It simply costs them less to do so, but at the cost of future generations.
While our own regulatory policies regarding manufacturers and pollution in the US still have a long way to go, our status is much better than many undeveloped countries. By buying American products or products made in nations with strong regulatory policies (Australia, Canada, Western Europe, Japan, Chile, to name a few) we encourage sustainable economics here in the US and abroad. If people choose not to buy that Chinese made product then the Chinese need to compete differently, not just through cost cutting, but quality.
One final note: I am not speaking from the point of view of a steadfast, stay away from Chinese goods advocate. I am speaking on principle. I have a bamboo floor in my store. It doesn’t make sense to buy American made bamboo, for me or any manufacturer. (I don’t know any that exist.) There is less weight in shipping the finished product overseas, thus less energy and cost. The reality is that nearly all bamboo flooring comes from China, so I rely on some other principles and the previous tips I have given to make the right choice. I would buy Eco Fusion bamboo without question because it satisfies several other green criteria I have. One of those criteria is a zero waste policy at their manufacturing facility and a fair labor record.