In today’s world of on-going environmental issues, it is more and more important for consumers to be aware and conscious of the products they are buying. As a consumer, we have the choice to decide what products we buy and where we buy them from. Choosing the right products can be very difficult if you don’t know what to look for. There are many options out there for sustainable, ethically sound products. Vegan, up-cycled, fair trade, organic are among the many labels used to define these products. How to pick through all of the labels and choose a product that is actually good for the environment and has good community implications is a very difficult challenge for consumers. One consumer choice, such as buying clothes made with organic cotton, can make all the difference. Behind the organic cotton label lies a long list of amazing environmental work and international development that is important for consumers to know.
Organic cotton has increasingly become more and more popular in today’s textile industry. The rise of climate-related issues has lead to a large push toward organic cotton. Organic cotton is different than regular cotton in the way that it is grown. The agriculture methods and materials behind organic cotton have a lower impact on the environment than conventional cotton. The methods used to grow organic cotton are more natural. These natural methods encompass many different agriculture practices that are meant to utilize the environment without harming it. They can include using irrigation systems that conserve water and use rainwater more efficiently. Crop rotation, inter-cropping, and composting are agriculture techniques that can lessen the stress and erosion on the land.
The materials used to grow organic cotton are crucial for limiting the adverse effects on the environment. Starting with a non-genetically modified seed is a critical first step. Non-GMO seeds help promote biodiversity, and they are more natural for the environment. Toxic pesticides and fertilizers are what make regular cotton harmful not only for the environment, but also for human health. Insecticides and pesticides are heavily used to grow conventional cotton, and nine of the most commonly used pesticides are known to contain cancer-causing agents. Organic cotton does not use these toxic chemicals in the process of growing their cotton. Another material that organic cotton growers are forbidden to use is synthetic fertilizers. Synthetic fertilizers contain harmful chemicals, and they are rich in phosphate and nitrogen. When it rains on the crops sprayed with these fertilizers, the synthetic fertilizers become runoff where they make their way to rivers and lakes to pollute water systems and create toxic algae blooms.
Overall organic cotton is better for the environment and for human health. The processes used to grow cotton prevent soil erosion and reduce CO2 emission. They use 71% less water and 62% less energy to grow cotton then the non-organic cotton growing methods. Conventional cotton accounts for 16% of the world’s insecticides and 7% of pesticides usage.
In general, organic cotton provides safer working conditions for growers by reducing toxic chemicals that workers are exposed to. Organic cotton is usually sold fair trade creating better work policies and additional wages for workers. The water conservation techniques used to grow organic cotton also help reduce water shortages in the areas they are grown.
Supporting and buying organic cotton encourages a healthier agriculture atmosphere for the community and the environment. There is a whole story behind the threads that make up the clothes that you choose to wear.