These days it’s become on-trend to cook and eat organic, but wearing organic? It’s a newer concept less of us seem concerned with. The facts have shown, however, that organic clothing can be better for our health, the wellbeing of farming communities and wildlife and overall encourages a more eco-conscious fashion industry.
A fluffy white plant, we tend to think of cotton as a natural and pure fabric. Versatile, soft and breathable, it’s also a key choice for manufacturers, producers and shoppers alike. Sadly, the conventional cotton industry has a number of negative side-effects that many still aren’t aware of, which have caused huge problems for our environment.
For one, the use of toxic chemicals to help crops grow is astonishing. Reports have suggested conventional cotton crops use 25 per cent of the world’s insecticides and 10 per cent of the world’s pesticides. Needless to say, these chemical cocktails can be deadly. According to the WHO (World Health Organisation) up to 20,000 deaths happen each year from pesticide poisoning in developing countries. In the US, there have been reports where these types of chemicals causing cancer have also killed more than 10,000 farmers each year.
Cotton is also a thirsty crop
According to WWF, it can take 2,700 gallons of water to produce just a single cotton t-shirt. That’s more than you or I will drink in a lifetime! To add to that, chemical insecticides do eventually end up in rivers and water systems, contributing to water pollution and affecting local communities and wildlife.
Image credit: Fashion Revolution
The Organic Difference
So how does that compare with organic cotton? Here are a few of the reasons you should consider choosing organic cotton over conventional. Now, we’re not suggesting you throw out all the regular cotton clothing in your closet. We’re all about taking small steps to shopping more consciously! Let’s just remember: the more we support this practice, the more demand will increase and the more affordable it will be for farming communities to produce organic cotton.
1. No genetically modified seeds or pesticides used.
This has a number of positive knock-on effects. Because it’s not being pumped with toxins, soil for organic cotton crops tends to stay more fertile and therefore will last longer, creating a more sustainable means of farming. These pesticides can cost a lot too and often send farmers into debt before they even start growing crops.
2. Less water pollution
There’s been debate as to whether organic cotton takes less water to produce than conventional, but one thing’s for sure: no toxins means chemicals don’t seep inside waterways from the soil after rainfall. This protects water quality (a lot of which can end up as drinking water for local communities).
3. Better health for local farmers and wildlife.
No toxins mean a healthier environment for farmers, their families and local wildlife. This is a particular concern in developing countries where the use of pesticides is poorly regulated.
4. Ideal for sensitive skins
Organic cotton clothing stays soft for longer since it isn’t chemically treated. It’s also more durable as it shouldn’t have been through the typical bleaching and scouring processes, which affect fabric quality. If you’re prone to rashes and skin irritation, organic clothing could be a good option for you because the material is free from pollutants.
Thankfully, now more and more fashion brands are committing to using organic cotton in their clothing, too. Earlier this year, 36 major brands including Burberry and Adidas pledged to use 100% sustainable cotton in their manufacturing by 2025, which is fantastic news for the industry.
Shop and discover organic cotton and other sustainable fabrics here on ZERRIN.
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