Fabric Talk: COTTON VERSUS ORGANIC COTTON
What makes organic cotton a better choice than conventional cotton? First of all, no chemical fertilizers are needed and less water is needed to grow organic cotton. When cotton is organically grown, the land stays fertile for a longer period than when conventional cotton is grown on that same field. In the long run, growing organic cotton has a positive effect on the lives and incomes of farmers who grow the cotton. Also, organic cotton is healthier for the people wearing it. When cotton is Fairtrade certified, it means that the farmers receive a premium on top of the cotton price. These premiums are invested in local communities. For more information about Fairtrade certified cotton check out this video.
Cotton is a sensitive plant that needs a lot of water to grow well. Besides its thirstyness, the plant is bugged by a lot of insects and weeds. Therefore loads of chemicals are used in conventional cotton production causing pollution and health risks on a large scale in cotton growing countries. Organic cotton is cotton that’s grown without the use of chemicals like pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. It’s also a non- genetically modified type of cotton. Cotton fabric is a highly versatile fabric; it’s used for soft woven and knit fabrics like satin, poplin and tricot, but also for the sturdier ones like denim, twills and canvas.
First the cotton is picked from the cotton fields. Then it goes through a cotton ginning machine and other processes that separate the cotton fibers from the shells and seeds. The leftovers are used in our food chain. The cotton fibers then go to the spinning mill where they end up as finished yarns.
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Organic cotton is more environmental friendly than conventional cotton, since less water is being used for growing the cotton and the land stays fertile for a much longer period of time than when conventional cotton is grown on the same field. The main factor limiting the increased use of organic cotton is its limited supply which is caused by several reasons. It takes around three years to turn conventional cotton into organic cotton before all pesticides and fertilizers are removed from the land. Furthermore, the production process is very costly since fewer crops can grow on the same amount of yields as conventional cotton.