Ever wondered what the difference is between regular cotton and organic? and why so many fashion brands are now using 100% organic cotton as a marketing point? What about why one should buy organic cotton clothing? Isn’t organic only something you should care about when you are putting it in your body?
I don’t know about you, but it’s something that i’ve been questioning ever since I first saw an organic cotton top advertised in H&M, and thought why should I care?
In order to answer my questions (and hopefully yours too) I’ve done the research as to why we should care, and whether or not 100% organic cotton is something we should be scouting out.
- it’s cheap? (however not sure whether this should even be a point when you look at the disadvantages it provides to the grower’s health).
- Turns out cotton accounts for roughly half of the world’s fibre needs, however it also used 25% of the world’s insecticides and 10% of the world’s Pesticides use (which include herbicides, insecticides and defoliants).
- Requires synthetic fertilisers and an intensive water irrigation system to grow due to a loss in soils nutrients.
- Uses GMO seeds -(I need to learn more about this is know whether this is such a terrible thing, if someone is educated about this please flick me a message!)
- Common chemicals required to scour, wash and leech the cotton include: chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, alkylphenol oxalate (APEO) and ethylenediamine tetra-acetate (EDTA)
- Uses chemicals to remove weeds and pests
- Loss of soil fertility due to having a mono-crop culture within the soil, and the use of synthetic fertilisers on it.
- Cotton is the third most treated crop in the US behind corn and soybeans.
- 7 of the 15 most commonly used pesticides within cotton production in 2000 according to the US Environmental Protection Agency have been listed as ‘likely’, ‘probable’ and ‘known’ human carcinogens -these include pesticides such as Acephate, 1,3-Dichloroproene, Diuron, Fluometuron, Pendimethalin, Tribufos, and Trifluralin.
- In developing countries, 20,000 individuals die of cancer and miscarriages as a result of chemicals sprayed on conventional cotton according to the World Health Organisation.
- It’s hypoallergenic, so it doesn’t cause any allergy or irritation on the skin -and it’s also 100% eco-friendly.
- Obviously, organic cotton contains no pesticides of toxic chemicals and instead use natural methods to grow cotton.
- Methods to grow cotton organically include: crop rotation, cover crops, organic fertilisers, beneficial insects and human labour for weed control (hence why it’s more expensive)
- Non-GMO seeds are used
- Organic cotton requires natural spinning oils, potato starch and other natural compounds to process the cotton.
- Left with better quality fabric as a result as there have been no harsh chemicals used to wear down the fibres.
- Low Energy and Water use and no toxic runoff into waterways + Lower carbon footprint
- The Organic certification covers all aspects of the cotton production process -from plant to item
- NO COMPROMISE TO FARMERS HEALTH
- Costs more than regular cotton -however, this is because it requires more skilled workers and time, along with the costs of more intensive labour.