If you want to choose sustainable fashion for your wardrobe, organic cotton is a very good option that does not pollute the planet, considering that synthetic materials significantly affect the environment.
Below, we will talk more about organic cotton and you will learn why it is your best alternative.
What is organic cotton?
It is a crop that comes from organically produced agriculture. No pesticides, insecticides or any other toxic products are used during its production, which affects its growth. Thanks to this, the crop does not suffer genetic alterations of any kind.
Instead of using toxic products, natural fertilisers are used that do not affect the necessary cycle that the crop must have, thus avoiding the exhaustion of the nutrients that the soil possesses. In addition, it is not necessary to use seeds that are genetically altered, which means that it is a natural, sustainable and ecological production, which becomes a breathable and light fibre.
What are its 10 benefits?
There is a big difference between organic cotton and synthetic cotton. Synthetic cotton uses more water, while organic cotton uses less water in its production. For this reason, it is advisable to use this cotton to manufacture sustainable and quality products. Here we tell you more about the benefits it offers:
- No toxic products are used in its production, making it a much healthier, natural and ecological crop.
- It protects the natural environment and reduces pollution, offering the opportunity to enjoy our environment without having to damage it.
- It respects the properties contained in the soil, so that the micro-organisms and the organisms that live in it are not affected. In addition, rivers are kept free of pollutants and chemical wastes that can find their way into waterways.
- It recognises the value of the labour that farmers provide in cotton production, thus improving their quality of life.
- It has much less impact on the planet, because it is grown in drying areas. So workers rely on rainwater, rather than extracting water that belongs to the soil to keep crops irrigated. Extraction of water from the soil negatively affects local water in communities.
- Farmers use healthy, chemical-free soil to strengthen the soil, which means that the soil becomes resilient during the dry season and super absorbent, preventing flooding.
- The purity level of the fibre is established by the way it is harvested. The organic cotton is harvested by hand, which ensures that the quality of the fibre is preserved, preventing it from being damaged during the harvesting process. The final product is a soft and resistant garment.
- Due to the fact that no pesticides are used in their production, the pests that can damage them are fought with the use of other insects that prevent damage. On the other hand, as it does not contain toxic products, cotton does not affect the skin in a negative way, preventing possible irritations.
- It uses natural water-based dyes such as peroxide, with the aim of bleaching the cotton for the production of organic garments, which ensures that there are no strange reactions on the skin.
- Prevents the build-up of dust mites. Because organic cotton fabric is breathable, it will prevent the build-up of bacteria, offering a better quality.
What is the difference between organic and native cotton?
Now that you know what organic cotton is, we will briefly explain what native or conventional cotton is. This type of cotton is produced with 25% of the most commonly used insecticides. In addition, it is important to note that 10% of the pesticide used has extremely negative effects on groundwater, soil, the final product and especially on farmers.
The World Health Organisation estimates that around 28,000,000 farmers die from the highly toxic chemicals used in production. The toxic compounds and heavy metals used by workers end up harming them enormously.
Why is organic cotton better? Because during its production no toxic products are used that seriously affect crops and farmers. So they do not damage the soil cycle and do not affect the process of spinning and production of cotton.
Where is organic cotton grown?
The following 5 countries account for 75% of the world's cotton production.
- Pakistan: 1.7 million tonnes
- Brazil: 1.9 million tonnes
- United States: 4.1 million tonnes
- China: 5.5 million tonnes
- India: 6.1 million tonnes
An estimated 250 million workplaces are established around the world, many of which may not have the necessary hygiene requirements, not to mention the possible existence of child labour.
It is important to note that conventional cotton is even cleaner than any other synthetic fibre because it does not come from oil and does not release plastic into the sea, and has a permissible degradation.
However, production in large quantities can cause negative reactions such as the use of pesticides, toxic spills and the use of large quantities of water.
Where is organic cotton used?
This type of cotton can be present in many of the garments you wear, however, we will look at all the uses it can have:
- Sustainable garments: there are now brands that make garments from organic cotton and sustainable and biodegradable materials, avoiding the destruction of the environment.
- Bags: instead of making plastic bags for supermarkets, the opportunity to use more sustainable bags made of cotton has been established.
- Reusable packaging: no more plastic packaging! Cotton can be used to make sustainable and ecofriendly packaging.
- Home textiles: there are sheets and towels made from organic cotton fibres. One of their great benefits is that they are breathable, which means no dust mites accumulate under the sheets and they will keep your skin free from irritation.
- Make-up remover pads: Make-up remover pads are eco-friendly, breathable and ideal for sensitive skin. They are perfect for skin care and, thanks to their sustainability, do not increase environmental pollution.
The use of this type of products, as well as being beneficial for the planet, are also beneficial for you. Promote the use of sustainable and biodegradable materials such as organic cotton to avoid further negative consequences on the environment.
Certificates guaranteeing the existence of organic cotton in your garment
Currently there are two certifications:
Organic Content Standard (OCS)
This certification evaluates the existence of cotton, offering a reliable assessment, with the objective of verifying products that are produced with organic materials. It is important to note that it does not recognise the environmental processes that were used for the production of the material,
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
To obtain this certification it is necessary that the fibre composition is 70% organic. In addition, it guarantees that the crop is produced under ethical and environmental standards. It even addresses logistical factors such as import, export, packaging, transport, labelling, among others.
The difference between the two certifications is that OCS works on production management, on the other hand, GOTS deals with environmental factors, product management and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
The OCS certificate inspects that the materials are organic and approved. GOTS, on the other hand, only deals with the textile industry.
Organic cotton is a sustainable and biodegradable product that does not pollute the environment. However, if it is produced in large masses, it may require the use of toxic chemicals that harm the planet.
It is necessary to recognise its great benefits, with the aim of promoting the use of products made from environmentally friendly materials and not from materials that harm the earth or the sea. If you are interested in sustainable fabrics, tencel and recylced cotton can also be your allies.
Don't be fooled by products that claim to be organic and sustainable when they are not, pay attention to the labels!