Organic Cotton is one of the winners in the sustainable clothing world. It is healthier for children, protecting them from exposure to harsh chemicals. It is also a sturdier fabric which creates a longer lasting garment. It is softer for young skin too. Even better, using organic cotton reduces pesticide use. This offers a sustainable farming future and takes the toxic impact out of cotton.
Organic cotton vs. commercial cotton
There are various differences between organic cotton and commercial cotton. Organic is much better both for the environment and for the child.
Pesticides, insecticides, herbicides
Commercial Cotton uses the highest proportion of pesticide in the world for the amount of crop produced. It occupies just 2.5% of the worlds’ agricultural land area. However, it is responsible for an estimated 7% of all pesticides and 16% of all insecticides applied globally each year. These pesticides contaminate freshwater lakes and rivers. They pollute drinking water supplies and threaten precious ecosystems. They also harm farmers’ health and cause soil erosion. Organic cotton, on the other hand, uses fewer or even none of these harmful chemicals.
Commercial Cotton requires more water for production than organic cotton requires. One of the thirstiest crops we farm, commercial cotton can take more than 20000 litres of water to produce one kilogramme of cotton. Organic cotton, however, is mostly rain-fed rather than irrigated, saving precious groundwater supplies. This is due to the lack of pesticide use. Organic soil is better quality and has more water retaining potential.
GMO and Farmers
GM Company Monsanto now controls the majority of the cotton seed market in India. The benefits that were promised from their ‘Bt’ cotton have not been as obvious as hoped. Using GM seeds means farmers become more reliant on the companies selling them. This leads to them having less control over their own crops. They then must use more chemicals which often becomes expensive. It can leave farmers in debt if profits from higher yields do not outweigh the input costs. Supporting organic cotton farmers gives them freedom from these deals with big seed companies. What's more, up to 77 million cotton workers suffer poisoning from pesticides each year. Organic farmers avoid being exposed to these harmful chemicals.
Commercial cotton has been treated with a huge amount of pesticides and insecticides. During the manufacturing process, numerous toxic chemicals are also added. Babies and young children have thinner and more porous skin than adults. They are therefore more vulnerable to the toxins in non-organic cotton. Organic Cotton is a healthier fabric and is also better quality. It produces higher performing yarns, meaning clothes last longer under everyday wear and tear.
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
GOTS is the world’s leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibres. The certification ensures that textiles are truly organic at every stage of production. This starts with the cotton growing in the fields. Natural predators, weeding by hand and preserving soil quality are methods farmers can use to increase crop yields. Checks are carried out in the factories where the fabric is treated and dyed too. The certification defines and requires compliance with high level environmental and social criteria. Responsible manufacturing must be used right up to the labelling of the final product. Third party accreditation gives the product traceability, preserving customer trust. It proves that the fabric meets the required standard to be classified as organic. Authentic ‘organic’ claims can be made on final products.
Onist stocks an organic baby wear range from Little Bean Organics. Take a look in the store on our site for the current range available.