Buffalo Exchange Embraces Ethics of Earth Day

Pulse Editor
Oregon Daily Emerald
University of Oregon, Eugene

As Earth Day 2006 approaches, many students have already started to plan what they’ll be doing to give back to the environment. Of course, most plans involve getting at least a little dirty – planting trees and flowers or picking up trash are always great ways to help out – but if digging in the mud isn’t appealing, Buffalo Exchange is giving anyone the option to give back this Saturday, no dirt involved. It still involves digging, but more in the sense of digging deep into pockets to shell out a little cash for some furry friends.

Since 1997, Buffalo Exchange, a consignment shop that buys, sells and trades new and used clothing and accessories, has been celebrating Earth Day with a special Dollar Day Sale that in the past has raised more than $125,000 for good causes. The Dollar Day Sale provides shoppers with cheap and amazing deals on clothing – men’s and women’s alike – as well as accessories and jewelry, but they also grant a convenient way to give to charity. All proceeds made from the Dollar Day Sale at all Buffalo Exchange locations across the United States go directly to a charity that Buffalo Exchange owners Spencer and Kerstin Block choose. This year, the Blocks chose Wild Neighbors, the Urban Wildlife Program of The Humane Society of the United States. Buffalo Exchange and the Humane Society have joined forces for a number of endeavors this year, which all culminate on Saturday, this year’s Earth Day.

The Coats for Cubs drive is just one of the endeavors Buffalo Exchange and the Humane Society have teamed up for this year. Since January, Buffalo Exchange and the Humane Society have been collecting furs – real and faux – to help orphaned, sick and injured animals with their bedding and nesting.

“We started out dealing with The Humane Society of the United States because of the Coats for Cubs drive. The Humane Society put out a call for fur coats and they in turn distribute them to wildlife rehabilitators, and the wildlife rehabilitators use the furs for orphaned animals because they find that they recuperate and do better if they have real fur,” Kerstin, a 1967 University graduate, said. “I guess it reminds them of the parents that they no longer have.”

Coats for Cubs has been a program of the Humane Society for more than a decade and has helped save the lives of countless baby animals – from opossums and chipmunks to bobcats and foxes – all across North America. Real and faux furs in any form, from full-length coats to the trim on a pair of gloves, are accepted, although real fur is better for the animals and helps promote the anti-fur philosophy of the Humane Society. Although Buffalo Exchange is not anti-fur – the store actually sells a limited number of real furs – the company won’t hesitate to stand up for the humane treatment of animals, said Michelle Livingston, marketing director for Buffalo Exchange.

“Protecting and supporting the environment is very important to Buffalo Exchange,” Livingston said. “It’s really what our company is about, in terms of reusing and recycling clothing.”

But Coats for Cubs isn’t the only thing Buffalo Exchange and the Humane Society have partnered up for this year. They’ve also joined together to support the Truth in Fur Labeling Act of 2006, a piece of legislation that would seal the current loophole that allows certain garments containing fur valued at less than $150 to be sold without identifying it as real and labeling what animal it is and where it was originally made.

“We’re urging congress to support this bill that asks that all furs be labeled for their country of origin and the type of fur it is,” Livingston said. “What happens right now is that you’ll get items here in the U.S. and you won’t realize that they’re from China, and you may think that it’s faux fur because it’s purple and it’s not labeled as real or it doesn’t say what kind of animal it is. But you could actually be wearing cat fur.”

So don’t feel guilty about splurging on a new spring wardrobe this year and check out Buffalo Exchange’s Dollar Day Sale this Saturday. Eugene’s Buffalo Exchange is located at 131 E. Fifth Ave. But don’t dally around; there will most likely be a crowd.

“We have a lot of people come in for our Dollar Day Sales,” manager Kari Pate said about the store in Eugene. “We open at 10 a.m., and the earlier (you come in) the better, but we do replenish the racks once they get low, so throughout the day there will be stuff out on the floor. And be sure to keep coming back throughout the day because there will be new items out.”