In a previous post, titled Why Conventional Cotton is Wasteful - And Dangerous, we outlined some of the most harmful effects of conventional cotton farming and clothing production. As a follow-up, here are just a few of the best reasons to begin buying organic cotton clothing instead.
Organically produced cotton has few of the issues of conventional cotton. Not only are GMO seeds and potentially harmful chemical pesticides not used, but usually, the picking is done by hand. Instead of using chemicals to defoliate for easier harvesting, the organic cotton farmer relies mostly on the seasonal freeze to defoliate the plants.
Organic Cotton is Safer
Synthetic fertilizers are not used, in favor of crop rotation, which increases the organic matter in the soil. Weeds are removed and controlled by hand and by hoeing. Pest control is achieved by bringing in natural predators, using beneficial insects and certain trap crops which lure insects away.
The processing of the organic fibers uses different procedures in milling and in the textile manufacturing. Chemical finishes for shrink resistance, permanent press etc. are not applied or are minimal, and use of natural rather than synthetic dyes are encouraged by co-ops and trade organizations.
Organic Cotton Easy on Environment
While growing organic cotton does not use less water than conventional cotton, it does not use more. And, the way organic cotton is irrigated is far kinder to the soil and environment, as explained here:
- Organic cotton is a rotation crop. When crops are rotated, the soil maintains its nutrients and is better able to hold water in.
- Regular cotton is usually the sole crop planted. Cotton depletes the soil, and leaves the soil incapable of holding water.
- Most organic cotton is rain-fed and not irrigated.
The good news is, you don't have to throw away all your conventional cotton clothing just yet, unless you’ve noticed an allergic reaction developing. However, we all might do well to ensure that future clothing and linen purchases of cotton fabrics be of the organic variety. If the demand for organic cotton products increases, more fields will be raised organically, resulting in health benefits for the environment and the workers and residents near the fields, as well as for all of us who use the huge variety of products made from cotton.
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