There are many differences in the economic and environmental footprints of mass produced and boutique pedals. As a consumer, your role is equally as critical as mine as a builder. Please allow me to address some of the differences and the concerns you may have over the impact of what you are considering purchasing:
Many mass produced pedals feature jacks, switches, and potentiometers (knobs) mounted directly to the circuit board. This causes stress on the circuit board. Mass produced pedals also tend to use a "solder bath" method which produces weak connections that may become dislodged over time, and are often difficult to repair. They also may use weak ribbon cables or plastic enclosures. Most notably, mass produced pedals are often not wired for true bypass as the switches required to do so are more expensive and must be soldered by hand. All Small Grey pedals are wired for true bypass, utilize externally mounted pots, jacks, and switches, are soldered by hand, and come in a durable metal enclosure that will be at your feet for years and years to come.
While it is true that there may be lead found in the solder used to assemble Small Grey pedals, it is important to note that it is a relatively small amount. In an effort to offset this, I make it a point to use as many RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) compliant materials as possible in the assembly of my pedals. Additionally, each pedal is hand painted using Krylon brand acrylic spray paint, primer, and sealer. Acrylic type paint is low in VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and is less harmful to the air and surrounding environment it is used in. The spray products used are also free of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons).
Labor, Trade, Sourcing, and Small Business Patronage:
The vast majority of the parts I use in these pedals are sourced from a distributor based in Brooklyn (also a small business, they have 9 people there). Some of the parts they sell may be sourced from overseas. However, as most mass produced pedal companies have their factories overseas, by purchasing a pedal from me (and from me in turn purchasing parts as stated above) you are directly supporting independently owned, American small businesses, as well as circumventing much of the fossil fuel consumption required in operating the machines and transporting the pedals from said overseas factories. Additionally, you're helping to stimulate a creative economy!