Four reasons why you should buy organic cotton
Cotton is one of the most popular natural-fibres in clothing today. It’s easy to care for and comfortable to wear. Cotton fibre grows around seeds of a cotton plant in tropical and subtropical regions such as the Americas, Africa, and India. The fibre is spun into a yarn or thread and used to make a soft, breathable textile. However, producing cotton uses a huge amount of resources and toxic chemicals. This has a huge impact on farming ecosystems and the environment. To combat this issue, organic cotton farming offers a much more environmentally friendly alternative, creating clothing and bedding that is far better for you.
Here are four reasons why you should buy organic cotton:
1.Conventional cotton farming is unethical & bad for the environment
Cotton is typically grown in water-scarce areas using irrigation. It needs a large number of pesticides and fertilisers to be cultivated. According to the Eden Project, the cotton crop takes up less than 3% of the world’s farmed land but uses a quarter of the world’s pesticides. Newer safer chemicals have been developed, but they cost more. So, cheaper, more toxic chemicals are used in developing countries, causing about 20,000 unintentional deaths a year. Cotton also uses a huge amount of water to produce clothing, for example it takes 2,700 litres of water to make a conventional cotton T-shirt.
2.Organic cotton is better for farmers & the environment
Organic cotton is grown using materials and systems that have a low impact on the environment. This process doesn’t use toxic pesticides or fertilisers and is mostly rain-fed which reduces pressure on local water sources. As a result, it doesn’t damage the soil, has less impact on the air, and uses 88% less water and 62% less energy. This also means that organic cotton farmers and their families are safer as they aren’t exposed to toxic chemicals in the field or through their food and water supply. Furthermore, they can grow more than one crop which supplements their food and income.
3.It’s kinder on your skin
As organic cotton isn’t processed with harsh chemicals and detergents, it’s a safer choice for people with sensitive skin and allergies, in comparison to conventional cotton which has chemical residue on it and could trigger skin reactions or other allergies. It’s also a breathable fabric, so feels great on your skin. Organic cotton bedding in particular is a safer and healthier option for babies and children as it avoids exposure to toxins. This is important to avoid as they develop.
4.It’s more durable
Organic cotton is typically stronger and can stand up to wear and tear better than conventional cotton. This is due to the fact that it’s weaved thinner and isn’t chemically processed. In addition, as we try and move towards a zero waste society and throw less items away, it’s important to invest in organic products that are better made and more durable.
Choose brands with the right certification
When you next shop take note that just because a garment is labelled as green, sustainable or eco-friendly that does not make it organic. Cotton clothing is only organic if it is certified to an organic cotton standard. The GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) traces the organic content in your clothes and ensures that it is processed socially and sustainably. This standard is recognised as the leading standard for textiles made from organic fibres worldwide. It defines high level environmental criteria along the entire supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria as well.
So, by choosing organic cotton products over conventional cotton, we have the power to influence brands, manufacturers and even farmers to switch over to organic cotton and reduce the environmental and ethical impact that conventional cotton farming creates.
Photo credit: The Sustainability Consortium