Organic Cotton FAQs

August 16, 2016

Organic Cotton FAQs

Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the growth, processing, and production of organic cotton, 100% organic cotton, and conventional cotton.

Where is organic cotton grown?

Nearly 97% of all organic cotton is grown in just five countries: India at 74%, China at 10%, and Turkey, Tanzania, and the USA producing the balance.

Where is organic cotton grown in the US?

The vast majority of organic cotton produced in the US is grown in three states: Arizona New Mexico, and Texas.

How is organic cotton grown differently from regular cotton?

Organic farming methods seek to establish a self-regulating farm ecosystem that uses on-farm inputs such as: green manure, biomass, organic fertilizers, and botanical preparations, while minimizing the use of external resources. Instead of using synthetic agri-chemicals to control pests, biological and cultural controls are used based on an understanding of local ecology and adjusting products to complement natural systems.

Which cotton uses more water, organic or regular?

Initially, growing organic cotton requires slightly more water than regular cotton; however, once the crop is established, along with more ecofriendly growing practice, organic cotton requires a bit less water, does not require rotation, and is actually better for the soil.

When rain-fed, organic cotton uses significantly less water.

How is 100% organic cotton certified as such?

Certification of organic cotton requires that the cotton be tracked from the field through all subsequent manufacturing steps. It must also be processed on machines that are either thoroughly cleaned prior to being used for organic cotton or used exclusively for organic cotton to ensure segregation from conventional cotton and any associated contaminants. Organic cotton must be stored separately if conventional cotton is processed on a site.

How much energy is used to produce organic cotton?

The production of organic cotton requires about 62% less energy than regular cotton (as measured per kilogram).

What about chemicals in organic cotton?

There are none. While regular cotton is grown using more chemicals and pesticides than any other crop, by definition and regulation, 100% organic cotton is grown, processed, and produced without the use of dangerous chemicals and pesticides used to grow, process, and produce regular cotton.

Instead, pests are controlled through appropriate crop rotation, carefully selected plant varieties, increased monitoring, beneficial insects, bio- and mineral-based pesticides, constructed traps, trap crops, and selective hand removal.

NOTE: This information relates only to the growth, processing, and production of Certified 100% Organic Cotton and products made from it. These claims may not be accurate for products labelled simply “Organic” or “Made with” organic. Please read labels carefully.


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