Saturday, June 30, 2007


A Simple Dry Cleaning Shirt Clip...

In a moment of what many would consider too much thinking (or too much time on my hands, depending on your point of view) I started thinking about the small clips that the neighborhood dry cleaner uses to neatly hold the collars of my shirts closed and the arms of the shirts folded in the front. Each shirt has one on the collar. How many millions of these things are created and tossed each year? There must be machines running right now making these by the hundreds per minute. From the look of the piece (it has a parting line) it must be injection molded, probably with a die that pops out dozens at a time. I bet they cost less than a penny each to the dry cleaner. I'll have the ask the next time I'm there.
I wonder what the true cost of these little plastic wonders would be if all the externalities were accounted for. The effects of extracting petroleum, the effects of toxic fumes on people and place in the manufacturing process, the effects of transportation's emissions, etc.? It would be vastly different, I am sure. Would a massive increase in the "shirt clip index" drive the industry to collapse? Nope..we'd either do without them or start using something cheaper.
Oh, by the way, I did say "dry cleaner". Their sign claims that they are using chemical free cleaning, but I have yet to ask. I suppose I trust them on this one.

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