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Ulysse Maes
Sun Dec 18 2022 · 6 min read

Is organic cotton really better?

Organic cotton is a crop which is grown using methods that prioritize the health and well-being of the environment, the people who produce it, and the ones that use it. Compared to conventional cotton, it is grown without relying on synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Moreover, it is often produced using sustainable farming practices such as crop rotation and natural pest controls.

The problem with cotton

Despite its popularity, and it being a natural crop, cotton does not have as good a reputation as alternatives like bamboo or hemp. The production of cotton requires large amounts of water, pesticides and fertilizers and has a significant environmental impact. Think of water pollution, soil degradation and elevated greenhouse gas emissions.

One of the main environmental problems lies in the excessive water consumption. Unfortunately, the cultivation, as well as production of the crop requires a lot of water. In countries like India and Pakistan, cotton production strains local water resources, leading to overuse and depletion. In addition, the use of pesticides and fertilizers in the production often lead to water pollution, as these chemicals leak into rivers and streams, affecting local ecosystems and wildlife.

Another problem associated with cotton production is soil degradation. The aforementioned chemicals, can lead to soil erosion and degradation, reducing soil fertility over time. This makes it more difficult to grow crops in the future, resulting in further environmental degradation.

Thirdly, cotton production also contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. The transportation of the crop and the use of synthetic fertilizers result in carbon dioxide emissions, which contribute to climate change. Moreover, the processing and production of cotton textiles are considered to be energy-intensive processes as well.

The benefits of organic cotton

Organic cotton is often proposed as a good alternative to conventional cotton. But is organic cotton really better? Compared to conventional cotton, the use of organic cotton has many benefits, both for the environment and for consumer health. Some of the most important benefits include:

1. Sustainability: Organic cotton is grown with sustainable farming practices that protect soil and water, and requires much less water to produce than conventional cotton anyway. These factors make it a more environmentally friendly choice for both production and consumption.
2. Health: The synthetic pesticides and herbicides used in conventional cotton farming can be harmful to human health and the environment. By choosing organic cotton, you can ensure that you and your loved ones are not exposed to these potentially harmful chemicals.
3. Social responsibility: Growing organic cotton often supports small farmers and encourages fair labor practices. Choosing organic cotton products supports these communities and contributes to more ethical and sustainable supply chains.
4. Quality: Organic cotton is known for its softness, durability and breathability, making it a comfortable and durable material.

In short, choosing organic cotton is a simple and effective way to make a positive difference to the environment and the people involved in producing the products. The next time you buy apparel or other textiles, try to consider products made from organic cotton.