This morning, while getting ready, I noticed that one of my socks had a hole near toe. ‘Oh, not again!’ I said to myself. My almost new socks get holes near fingers/toes even when it is not worn out at other places. This makes my socks non-wearable and I have to throw them away. I guess it is common with everyone. While the whole socks is quite in good shape, a hole in the front makes it useless. This might be due to nails or rub of fingers with the nose of shoes.
‘But not this time.’ I was determined. Yes, I didn’t want to throw away the pairs of almost new socks because of one tiny hole in the front. Discarding almost unused piece of cloth because of one small hole is insane. Therefore, I wore the holed socks and moved out. The reason for using the holed socks was perhaps not for saving money, but for saving the mother earth, saving the environment. Of course, I respect my money but it was for the reverence of the efforts of those people who had worked hard in the process of production of the pair of socks that changed my decision.
Producing a pair of socks does not begin only in a factory. Actually, it starts much before that. Some farmers, working hard in scorching heat, grow cotton. Many people put their efforts to enable farmers to produce cotton. Seeds, fertiliser, water, soil nutrition and other inputs have their own series of efforts involved. Sowing of seeds, growing and protecting the crop, harvesting and post harvest work, transporting and processing and packaging of cotton – all these stages involve a lot many people and use an abundance of resources. Think of a person working in a factory producing yarn. How much resources he might have used during the day when the yarn used in my socks was extracted from cotton? I thought of the whole chain of labour, effort, time, resources and hard work that might have gone into making of that pair of socks.
Each and every stage of this process was worth much more than the few bucks I spent on my pair of socks. Hundreds of hours of work was involved. Hundreds of people contributed directly or indirectly to the making of that pair of socks. And therefore, if not for my money, then for those human efforts, environmental resources and the whole network of contribution, I decided not to throw away that pair just because of a tiny hole in one of the socks.
I wish I had looked at the other pairs of socks from that angle earlier and not discarded them. I don’t know those discarded socks were recycled or not. But even in the recycling process, the amount of resources used would be much more than what the price of socks could buy. It is only because of the economy of scale that we are getting such products much cheaper. Even if machines are used in the production of socks, their movement, maintenance, and fuel should be taken into account to arrive at the real consumption of resources. If I have to produce everything myself to make a pair of socks, maybe I will take months. How much would be the cost of a pair of socks in that case?
With this understanding, I have concluded that I will not discard any product without properly using them. I will respect every hour of human effort, each and every unit of resources used in making that product and appreciate the true value of the product. I will no more evaluate any product on the basis of its monetary price only. Therefore, I am happy to wear a pair of socks with a hole until it becomes unsuitable for the purpose.