We all know that organic food is a healthy choice, but does going organic even matter when it comes to textile products? Absolutely!
It is very clear that organic cotton clothing has amazing benefits for you, your family and the planet, whether you’re talking cloths, towels, or home fabrics.
Anyone who is interested in preserving the environment or just curious about how their clothes are made might be wondering about the differences between organic cotton vs non organic cotton. We’re already aware that harmful pesticides and insecticides are used in the growth of our fruits and vegetables, so what else could they be used in? Just what is the truth about organic cotton and conventional cotton?
When cotton is loomed and prepped for cutting, it first goes through several chemical treatments and baths. It’s not usual for the dyes used on non organic cotton to contain heavy metals. There are no chemicals used in the growth of organic cotton. If organic cotton is ever treated with anything, it’s a gentle environmental dye or a colorant that’s natural, like clay.
Another difference between organic cotton and non organic cotton is that organic cotton is often safer for individuals who can’t wear conventional cotton because of the traces of chemicals and dyes inside of them.
Out In The Field
When it comes to planting cotton seeds, those used with organic cotton aren’t treated with any kind of chemicals, nor are the seeds genetically modified organisms. The soil is rotated, which strengthens it and allows it to retain water better because there is more organic matter in the soil. The weeds that sprout up in a crop of organic cotton are removed by hand as opposed to using chemicals to get rid of the weeds. Weeds are controlled through hand hoeing and cultivation.
There is a larger impact to the environment with the growth of non organic cotton. The reason for this is that a quarter of insecticides that are used across the globe are used in the growth of conventional cotton. Some of the most harmful pesticides known to man are also used during the growth of non organic cotton. It’s not unusual to hear of a person consuming those harmful pesticides if they eat any foods that contain cottonseed oil.
Non organic cotton farming usually involves using manmade fertilizers. Not only that, but there is also a loss of soil because of the harmful monocrops, which are cultivated crops that aren’t rotated with all of the other crops in a specific area or field. Growing non organic cotton also involves intensive irrigation.
Besides feeling better about buying a completely organic product, there are several other benefits of buying organic cotton:
Organic cotton is produced without synthetic fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides. (One of the farms Boll & Branch works with grows marigolds in its fields—they naturally repel pests!) Conventional cotton, on the other hand, uses more insecticides than any other crop.
It requires less water.
Cotton is one of the world’s thirstiest plants. But organic cotton farmers don’t need to irrigate as intensely, because they’re working with healthier soil from the start. The result is a more efficient process that uses significantly less water.
It’s healthier for farmers.
People who work at conventional cotton farms interact every day with all of the toxic chemicals used in the growing process. Pesticide poisoning is linked to thousands of deaths each year.
It’s healthier for animals.
Pesticide runoff from conventional cotton farms doesn’t just affect people—it also kills millions of fish, birds and other animals annually. Organic cotton processes eliminate this danger.
It’s healthier for you.
Before they arrive in stores, conventional cotton products are treated with chemical dyes and bleach. Organic cotton products, on the other hand, are made without harmful chemicals. The result is a healthier choice for you and your family—and peace of mind that’ll last far beyond Earth Day.