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Organic Cotton and the Environment

Cotton is everyone’s favorite fabric and for good reason. It is often referred to as “the fabric of our lives”.  However, did you know that growing cotton contains the use of an insane amount of pesticides? That is why organic cotton is better for you, the environment, and the farm workers who grow it.  Let’s take a look at why organic cotton is better choice for you and the environment.

What is Organic Cotton?

According to the Organic Trade Association organic cotton is grown using methods and materials that have low impact on the environment. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture. Organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. In addition, federal regulations prohibit the use of genetically engineered seed for organic farming.

Quick Facts about Organic Cotton and the Environment

  • Approximately 25% of the world’s insecticides and more than 10% of pesticides go into the world’s cotton crops.
  • Some of the chemicals used in pesticides and insecticides are considered some of the most toxic chemicals in the world. If exposed some of the health risks include birth defects, reproductive disorders and weaker immune systems.
  • In the WWF report The Impact of Cotton on Freshwater Resources and Ecosystems, they documented it can take more than 20,000 liters of water to produce 1kg of cotton; equivalent to a single T-shirt and pair of jeans. 73% of global cotton harvest comes from irrigated land.
  • The Aral Sea in Central Asia has seen massive destruction done to its eco-system due to unsustainable cotton farming with massive inputs of water and pesticides being used.
  • According to the Organic Trade Association organic cotton now equals 0.7 percent of the global production. According to the 2011 Textile Exchange Organic Cotton Farm & Fiber Report, approximately 151,079 metric tons of organic cotton (693,900 bales) was grown on 802,047 acres in 2010-11.
  • There are many products made out of organic cotton fiber. These include personal care items (sanitary products, make-up removal pads, cotton puffs, ear swabs), to fabrics, home furnishings (towels, bathrobes, sheets, blankets, bedding, beds), children’s products (toys, diapers), and clothes of all kinds and styles (whether for lounging, sports or the workplace).

 

Why Organic Cotton?

There are many benefits for buying organic cotton. First of all, you are helping our cotton farmers have a better working environment while saving money by not having to buy pesticides. There are benefits for you as well. Organic cotton is supposed to be softer and easier on your skin. Without the chemicals and dyes that can go into conventional cotton products, you don’t have to worry about allergic reactions. This is great news for our babies and children that have sensitive skin. With awareness being raised and the facts of organic cotton rising, the price of organic cotton has lowered and become more available giving you an added bonus.

Let’s help our environment and ourselves and buy organic cotton!