How often to we stop to consider the environmental impact of our shopping habits?
Take note: organic cotton is better for the planet.
But, for many, this information simply isn’t enough. In the war between organic cotton vs. regular cotton, some facts are needed.
Eco-friendly cotton is organic cotton. From the lack of harmful pesticides used, to the protection of animal habitats, there are many benefits to the environment we can unpick.
So, how is organic cotton sustainable?
What is Organic Cotton?First things first, many people are unsure of the organic cotton definition.
We’ve all heard of organic food, so why not cotton? The material remains somewhat of an enigma, unless you’ve chosen an organic lifestyle.
So, what makes cotton organic? If it’s been grown:
- from non-genetically modified plants
- without any synthetic chemicals and pesticides
- using low-impact farming methods
The production of cotton grown organically maintains soil health and protects ecosystems by using natural processes.
Where Does Organic Cotton Come From?So, where is organic cotton grown?
The material can be produced all over the globe, usually in subtropical places such as:
- Parts of the USA
It’s not where the product comes from, but how it’s grown that gives it its name! If you want to find out more about organic cotton, always look at the label.
How is Organic Cotton Sustainable?
Still unsure what any of this has to do with sustainability?
The definition of organic and eco-friendly go hand in hand! The two work together in perfect harmony, benefiting the environment and nearby communities at the same time.
So, why organic cotton? Let’s unravel the topic further…
No Harmful Chemicals
Many people are in the dark about why organic cotton is bad for the environment. But, the list of pesticides and fertilisers used in the production of non-organic cotton is endless.
Instead, let’s look at why these chemicals have such a negative impact on the environment.
Before the plant even grows, conventional cotton is treated with fungicides or insecticides. Sometimes, producers take it one step further, genetically modifying the seed so that it is resistant to any insects or fungus.
To some, this may sound like a positive. However, these substances are expensive and harmful to their surrounding environment.
Also, conventional cotton is harvested by forcing defoliation with the aid of toxic chemicals. So, whether it’s clothing or bedding, the material is produced using copious amounts of harmful substances. These can seep into your skin later on.
Protection of Animal Habitats
One of the major advantages of cotton grown organically is that its production doesn’t cause local wildlife to suffer.
For example, treated cotton seeds can be ingested by animals, causing adverse health effects. We hear a lot about the impact of chemicals on human health, such as certain cancers. The same applies to animals!
Also, the pesticides and fungicides can kill the growth of other nearby vegetation, which animals use as food or shelter.
Organic cotton farming methods benefit the surrounding environment, rather than harm it. Natural cotton production encourages certain animals to frequent the plant, providing pest control without the need for pesticides.
Conservation of Water
Organic farming methods use less water, as they recycle rainwater much more efficiently.
Cotton itself requires an enormous amount of water idea to grow properly; 20,000 litres per kilogram, to be exact. However, there are ways to make this more sustainable.
For example, with organic methods, any excess water is recycled and used during the dyeing process.
Also, the area the plant is grown in matters. Places that are prone to long droughts will require more water - resulting in evitable waste. However, in areas such as India, monsoon season provides most of the water necessary for the plant to grow.
Another result? Nearby communities and local villages don’t suffer from a water shortage. It’s a win-win!
Protection of Soil
Another of the benefits of organic cotton is that it helps keep soil healthy. Thanks to the crop rotation, the soil remains fertilised and retains moisture, providing the perfect place for the plant to grow.
Instead of spraying the soil with pesticides, trap crops are used to control pests, meaning no loss of soil takes place.
Soil organic matter is also built through compositing, meaning that any waste is reused and becomes beneficial to crop production! Another beneficial impact? This helps maintain soil fertility.
Hopefully, this gives some clue as to why organic cotton is better for the environment!
Use of Natural Dyes
Natural organic cotton doesn’t stop at the growing stages!
Throughout production, sustainable methods are used. This includes treating the cotton with safe-to-use, non-toxic dyes.
When it comes to organic cotton vs. conventional cotton, the latter is dyed using a process that requires a high temperature. Evidently, this wastes a lot of energy and produces a large amount of greenhouse gases.
If that wasn’t enough, these pigments often contain materials such as petroleum, or metal. These can pollute waterways or nearby land.
So, organic cotton is more eco-friendly, as it doesn’t have this enormous carbon footprint!
What’s more, organic cotton is often made without the use of dyes at all! The finished product is cotton with a natural, cream colour freckled with dots from the seeds themselves.
When we talk about sustainability, it’s important to remember the people on our planet as well as the planet itself.
So, why is cotton sustainable?
Non-organic farming isn’t feasible for many communities, as it’s too expensive to maintain. This means many farm workers get trapped in a cycle of never-ending poverty.
Unfortunately, there’s a dark side to conventional cotton farming. In many cases, there’s no social screenings. This means many farmers are forced to work in unsafe working conditions for very few wages. Particularly in developing countries, this is a huge problem that needs to be tackled head on.
GOTS-certified (Global Organic Textile Standard) cotton is not only organic, but comes with the protection of local communities also. For example, child labour and unfair wages are banned!
So, when it comes to local communities, the difference between organic cotton and regular cotton is clear.
Organic cotton touches many industries, such as bedding.
For these businesses, it’s hugely important for them to sell ethical cotton bedding. While consumers need to make the right choices, the production line begins with the companies!
Organic Cotton vs. Cotton - What’s Better?So, to answer the question, ‘is cotton eco-friendly?’ the answer is yes - if it’s organic.
While it’s easy to shop without thinking, it’s important to be aware of the impact our actions have. Buying non-organic products has many negative impacts, both to the environment and those who live in it.
Ecological cotton erases any of these issues. Therefore, sustainable cotton production is something that should be at the forefront of consumers’ minds.
Organic cotton products are everywhere! Once you know where to look, they’re not difficult to find. Cotton industries will change, if consumers force them to!
Looking to buy organic cotton? Our range of luxury bedding is made from 100% GOTS certified, FairTrade cotton that has been ethically sourced from seed to sheet. We can guarantee that our production line is transparent and sustainable! Your product will even be delivered in a recyclable box and a reusable bag! Browse our full range of organic bedding here.