You can't get money for old rope...

...betcha you can.

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The saying always was “you can't get money for old rope” but, apparently, this has all changed now with recycling being chic and the latest in fashion and must have accessories for wear and home.

A company recently was noticed on the Internet selling just that, namely recycled old rope with wooden beads as a belt or necklace, and it was advertised thus “Made with wooden beads on a thick jute cord it can be worn as a belt or necklace. $70”. I mean this is $70 for a length of old jute cord and some wooden beads – probably – it will be claimed – recycled in Southern Africa or thereabouts.

While I am the first to say yes to all things green and all things recycled this is a little too much money to pay for in my liking. Who is getting the income from this “beltlace”? I am certain it is not the people in some Third Wold – oops, sorry – Developing Country who recycle those into this piece of fashion accessory.

I have seen the wire sculptures, for instance, that are made predominately by children and young people in Southern Africa and that fetch a small fortune in the “ethical” stores in Europe and North America but I could bet my bottom dollar that very little money of the sales of those goods ever gets back to those that make them.

With the world as it is today, with Internet and such communications, I am sure it would be possible that some ethical publications (those of Tatchipen Media are only too open for that) to advertise (recycled) goods produced by co-ops and even individuals, and to enable those producers to sell their goods direct rather than through middlemen who, in the end, are always the ones who reap the profits.

The problem with the “Beltlace” and such “ethical” and “green” goods and products is that they are NOT ethical in the way the rip the buyer off and, more often than not, the producers get very little by way of return. While the couple of bucks, if that, they they get per item made, which indeed in their country may be a small fortune, it is not, at least not in my book, very ethical to rip both the makers and the buyers off by charging such exorbitant prices for what is but old rope.

The same, also, is true for other such goods and please, let no one start me off about the useless so-called green products of which the Eco-Button (see my product review) is but one example.

© M Smith (Veshengro), May 2008