Today I will make an attempt to explain why someone would justify one off custom builds vs large business productions.
My personal philosophy is to take pride in my work and know that I am solely responsible for both my product and code of ethics or mass consumption. Most woodworking companies have a primary product that they mass produce at high volume so they are able to sell them at an affordable rate. Extremely high volume production make so much volume that there is actual overstock just sitting in a warehouse once they've met status quo or the product is now not in fashion or the market is now over saturated. They dump it all a discounted rate to make room for the newest thing they can sell to you.
So you make a product based on the impulse convenience buy. Like a bike for example. Your best bet to get one made in a 3rd world country where the worker gets paid a dollar a day. There's no union, no health and safety, no pension, no dental plan and no maternity leave. This will help the cost go down easy. Until automation and regulations in other countries catch up, Canada can't compete.
Then if you have the money you can buy a franchise and fill your store with one of everything. If it breaks don't worry it was only $150 it's cheaper to just buy a new one really. You need to sell a lot of these bikes because now you have a massive building with utilities,parking lot, snow removal, employees, marketing division, accounting, shipping and list goes on. There are now people relying on you to supply them a regular source of income to keep up with the Joneses.
So, to the consumer it is extremely convenient. You have no idea of what you want? don't fret there's one in every colour already assembled ready to go.
Seems good but it also looks like this to get to that point.
To me this is a waste of resources and unneeded extra production. Even if you recycle the metal you still need to take the material to a not overly eco friendly plant to shred the bikes and melt them down. And your also burning additional resources driving or shipping it all over the world to do so.
In my dream world if you wanted a bathroom vanity. You would call up your local carpenter, woodworker etc. Tell them exactly what you need. I need a vanity higher than a standard height longer than standard length. 5 drawers one of which deep enough for hair dryer and tooth brush charger. With a working plug in said drawer.
I would make the vanity specifically for that customer. I would genuinely care because the volume is so low that there is an actual personal connection between me and the customer. If they are not happy they have a face to the product they can go to and complain. I am held the most accountable for my product. And it makes me genuinely happy to know I built that and that they or you are using it.
As far as sourcing material. If I'm able I collect trees that were responsibly culled by arborists, municipality or weather. I am not ordering a surplus of trees clear cut to meet up with demand. I air dry the wood which makes it easier to work and keeps its depth of colour. And sometimes I can give your piece an actual story. This vanity was made out of wood from a tree that fell in the front yard 100 years ago during a bad storm. And If I can I will use tried test old world joints/techniques for your piece does become a generational heirloom. It cost more, yes, but its peer to peer, 1 of 1, built to last.
Things that are cheaper still have a cost. Whether it be the fact that its disposable due to it being a fad or made of poor quality. Or something that next generations will feel when the water and air are polluted.
Mental health is at an all time low because your working for a franchise or factory where nothing's ever in stock no one is accountable. And though there may be a human resources that care for your best interest, you better buckle up because the bottom dollar is the bottom line. If you don't get your numbers out and on the truck the business suffers. And if your too productive or there are less sales in December don't be surprised when you're laid off. Its just business no hard feelings.
There is no real answer as of yet. And there probably never will. there's always something.
I'm not an extreme environmentalist or claim to know the answer. We will always need resources like petrol. And smelting plants aren't inherently evil. I'll just try to live my life doing the least amount of mass consumption as possible. And If it works for me it may work for you. And if it doesn't thats cool too.
I just ask myself do I really need this new thing? answers usually no. I usually say this to myself when I think about donuts. Or when I am in a grocery store talking to a banana. " Your a long way from home mr Dole. tell me of your trials and tribulations of how you've made it to my small town."
So ya, if you can buy local resources from local people. It may be more convenient to got to Walmart, but don't be so impulsive. Know what you want, get it made just for you.
You deserve it.