organic cotton vs cotton

Good article. Eco clothing is a challenging topic because we must weigh the pros and cons of each option, such as organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, silk, and others. They use more eco-friendly materials, and they do not pose any health hazards. The real issue to focus on is not which type of cotton uses less water, but which cotton contaminates the water. If you’re interested in switching over to organic cotton products, take a look at our review of the best organic bedding brands for you and your little ones. Organic cotton needs less energy. “Cotton batting does contain pesticide residues, if it is not organic, as it is not as processed as cotton fabric. Crop rotation, which keeps the soil fertile and reduces its water demand 3. When grown organically, the yield is … Is Microfiber or Cotton More Eco-Friendly? When it comes to organic cotton vs. conventional cotton, the latter is dyed using a process that requires a high temperature. They use a variety of natural products in manufacturing, including potato starch, low-impact dyes, and earth clays. Many people suffer from the skin reactions or allergy symptoms these residues can have. But the most important benefit is protecting the ecosystem, reducing wastage of water, and ensuring a safer working environment for the farmers and manufacturers. Because this specific question about the topic of water usage is so controversial, we’ve taken a look at both sides of the story and found legitimate study results to explain our answer. Yes, because the natural fibers are longer, they allow for breathability while still maintaining the strength of the material. Certified organic cotton is cotton fiber that has been grown without pesticides and fertilizers, through a process that preserves biodiversity, biological cycles and soil well-being. In one year (2014-2015), organic cotton crops saved 218 billion liters of water. Want numbers? Is organic cotton really that much more sustainable than conventionally grown cotton? According to the, Conventionally grown cotton requires an immense amount of water. We investigated so we could all make better choices when it comes to sustainable apparel. It should naturally become part of the ecosystem – not disturb it. In one year (2014-2015), organic cotton crops saved 288.7 million kilowatts of energy (the equivalent of a 60w bulb glowing for 549,314 years) compared to conventional cotton crops. Cotton, Inc. and. Although they try to rinse the cotton, they cannot get rid of all the chemicals. However, with conventional cotton, there are more “necessary” elements added to the growth process to keep up with the supply and demand chain. Certified organic cotton is cotton that is expected to have been grown without fertilizers and pesticides, with practices that promote biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil health. One advantage of cotton is that since it is a natural (not synthetic) fiber, it will biodegrade more quickly than, say, polyester or nylon, which is great! But since conventional cotton still contains harmful chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers from its days as a plant (before it was a sundress), those chemicals will leech back into the soil and waterways as it breaks down. Yeah, it tends to be more expensive, but we could all buy a little less, anyway. When we talk about a product or company meeting “fairtrade” standards, this simply means that it promotes or complies with improving the living and working conditions of smallholder farmers and their employees. This is largely because research indicates that growers of organic cotton typically rely more on rainwater than … The chemical fertilizers, GMO seeds, and manufacturing chemicals needed to produce the necessary yield are all quite expensive. But what’s the difference? If that wasn’t enough, these pigments often contain materials such as petroleum, or metal. No GMO seeds 4. Instead of prompting growth with synthetic fertilizer, organic cotton producers use sustainable techniques, including crop rotation and manure-based fertilizer. When comparing the amount of water, the Textile Exchange explains that to produce a T-shirt, it would require about 2,168 gallons of water versus just 186 gallons for organic cotton. The texture and breathable quality of the organic cotton will make it ideal for bedding even in the summer months. Second, during the manufacturing process, organic cotton is not bleached or treated with toxic chemicals. The lack of chemicals in all of this aids in maintaining the natural purity and soft texture. Traditional cotton uses a lot of water and harmful pesticides and chemicals. According to the nonprofit organization Textile Exchange, 70% to 80% of organic cotton is estimated to be rain-fed rather than irrigated. Copyright text 2019 by Green Snooze. Organic cotton is better for the environment, the workers and the community. It is a beautiful, quality, functional material all on its own. It’s usually sized, all using natural oils to help in that process. Organic crops saved 315,030 kg of chemical pesticides and 40.9 million kg of chemical fertilizers from soaking into soil and waterways (which damages ecosystems and erodes soil). A textile is a woven or knit material made of natural or artificial fibers (yarns). I've found, though, that a lot of companies either use softer cotton or brush it when it's organic. You can avoid shrinking as much as possible by following the care labels and air drying the products. The big question is whether or not it’s even better than conventional cotton? These organic bedding brands are sure to deliver on the product quality for you and quality of life for their suppliers. Organic cotton requires more space to grow the same amount of harvestable material, but even so, according to the. What is Organic Cotton? However, there are several differences between conventional cotton and organic cotton fibers. They also explain that the real problem is water pollution. No chemical pesticides, but natural pesticides based on leaves or fruit 2. It seems to be the ultimate resource when it comes to choosing a non-toxic option for your clothing, bedding, or any fabric. Themes That’s because in order to be called organic, a requirement is that the cotton is grown without them. In a clear case of supply restrictions, hemps is much pricier than organic cotton and is often even blended with (hopefully organic) cotton to reduce its price tag. There’s a lot of talk recently about water usage in the manufacturing process of the material. Many organic farmers are proving that there’s no need for harmful chemicals. USDA Certified Organic Cotton vs GOTS Certified Organic Cotton As Mattress Ingredients - When you decide to buy organic cotton, even if it's just a pair of organic socks, you'd like to think you're getting a product that isn't saturated in chemicals or off-gassing known carcinogens. If the fibers were weakened or broken by a machine harvester, you would lose some of the natural durability of the fiber. Organic cotton is softer, hypoallergenic, and last for a long time. Like conventional cotton, organic cotton is water-intensive to grow—although whether organic cotton uses more or less water than conventional cotton is a matter of some debate. Read More: What are the best organic pillows? Organic cotton features: 1. Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants. Your organic cotton t-shirt may have actually used up more resources to produce than one made of conventionally grown cotton, and could have a greater overall impact on the environment. Worst of all, if it also happens to be cold, your chances of suffering from hypothermia increase exponentially if your clothes or outerwear get wet. So it is imperative to buy organic cotton batting, as in a mattress or pillow.” Finishes and dyes on some cotton fabrics can also be a problem: Organic farmers use beneficial insects over insecticide and utilize methods like crop rotation and composting for healthy soil instead of relying on synthetic fertilizers. All cotton is grown from the ground, so what makes organic cotton so special? Both organic and conventional production systems offer the benefit of providing us with a natural fiber and their growing practices are similar. Organic cotton is eco-friendly because it does not disrupt the natural processes happening in the soil, water, or air around the cotton field. And, the organization notes, not all irrigation necessarily uses a ton of water—drip … She loves her tiny house, vegan food and experiencing the community of travel in far away places. Organic cotton is more durable because as mentioned above, the hand-picking method preserves the longer fibers, keeping them intact and therefore stronger. A percale sheet is a type of cotton sheet, and the name percale refers to how the cotton threads are woven. Although the natural fertilizers and products used in manufacturing may be cheaper, the economic market for organic cotton forces most farmers to have to raise the price. The seeds may be genetically modified and the ground may have a large variety of chemicals added to it to supposedly aid in the yield amount and protection from disease or pests. Organic cotton is slightly more expensive than cotton since it has a lower yield —and should be third-party certified. All cotton biodegrades, but not necessarily in a sustainable way. -  Designed by Thrive Something you have to consider with regular cotton is that even if the cotton needs less water to grow, you still have to consider the water that is lost through water pollution due to pesticide use, and toxic chemicals in the production process. First of all, the source of information is crucial when it comes to these statistics and big claims. Cotton is often grown in water-scarce areas using irrigation and it takes 2,700 liters of water to make a conventional cotton t-shirt. Organic cotton textiles, or fabric, are used in almost every product we sell at The Natural Sleep Store. Conventional cotton is often harvested by machines to keep up with the rush of high demand. As you’ve noticed, there are a few major problems with the process of growing and manufacturing conventional cotton. If it is better, why exactly should we choose organic cotton over conventional cotton? If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this. That said, organic cotton garments are best reserved for casual dayhikes and day-to-day life, not trekking across Appalachia (or even a weekend backpacking trip). Organic cotton is untouched by chemicals when it’s spun into yarn. Compared to conventional, organic cotton crops saved 92.5kg of C02 (the equivalent of driving a car around the world 13,572 times). The picking and manufacturing method gives us an indication of how durable the cotton will be. No harmful chemicals in the textile factories 5. Conventional cotton isn’t sustainable. Organic cotton must also be produced completely free of genetic modification. BCI systems employ good cultivation practices like intercropping and reduce use of mineral fertilizers for cultivation. The difference between cotton vs. organic cotton is in the production, and more importantly, how these differing production techniques impact the planet and also us as individuals. Organic cotton is healthier because of the clean, non-toxic processes used in the processes of growth, harvesting, and manufacturing. For outdoor pursuits, that means a higher chance you’ll get blisters if your socks are cotton, chafing and sagging if you’re wearing cotton shorts or shirts, and really heavy clothing and gear if any of it gets wet. So check out our comparison of conventional cotton vs organic cotton and see for yourself which comes out on top. Safe working conditions for the workers. It’s as easy as that! Conventional cotton is the kind of cotton which is most widely used, also called “traditional” or “ordinary” cotton. Organic cotton is cotton that has been grown without the use of chemicals, pesticides, fertilisers or fungicides. Organic cotton working alongside the Better Cotton Initiative is the most ethical and sustainable option if this fabric is to be used. This helps to avoid further fiber damage, making it a much more durable material than conventional cotton. What is organic cotton? | Powered by WordPress, By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. Percale is a type of plain weave and is used mostly for bed sheets. It is a benefit that organic cotton uses less water, but even better than that is that the water is not contaminated or hazardous after the production process. This makes organic cotton softer than conventional cotton because its fibers remain longer. She’s also pretty sure she’s addicted to coffee. Organic cotton is generally defined as cotton that is grown organically in subtropical countries such as India, Turkey, China, and parts of the USA from non-genetically modified plants, and without the use of any synthetic agricultural chemicals such as fertilizers or pesticides aside from the ones allowed by the certified organic labeling. To untangle these often opposing statements and studies, we have to clarify the conditions. The absence of chemicals also means that water is cleaner and safer. Even though organic cotton may not match the yield of conventional cotton, it has proved to supersede the “benefits” of conventional cotton. One key difference is that organic cotton products are made without toxic chemicals. Sources:, No, it does not, unlike synthetic fabrics. Conventional cotton is in high demand because of the large quantities needed for production worldwide. The reason cotton is grown with so many fertilisers and pesticides is because it’s such a sensitive plant. However, because there is so much business for conventional cotton, they don’t need to charge an exorbitant amount for it. If you’re looking for organic cotton products, make sure they’ve got the GOTS certificate logo on the label. According to the Pesticide Action Network UK, “cotton crops cover 2.4% of the world’s cultivated land but use 6% of the world’s pesticides, more than any other single major crop.”. The organic cotton is grown from the ground. There’s no doubt that organic cotton is more environmentally friendly than conventional cotton; the numbers speak for themselves. Organic cotton contributes less to global warming. Alisha is a freelance writer and photographer based in Austin, TX. As its cultivation and manufacturing process excludes the use of harsh chemicals, it avoids soil and water pollution and it protects the health of people involved in the manufacturing process. Whereas cotton, if it's not 100% organic, is grown with the use of a lot of pesticides and herbicides, most of which are known to be quite dangerous for our health. The world’s leading producers of organic cotton are India, China and Turkey. Cotton, Inc. and Textile Exchange state that an organic cotton T-Shirt requires 86 gallons of water to produce versus 2,168 gallons for a conventional cotton shirt. Organic cotton is generally understood as cotton from plants not genetically modified and that is certified to be grown without the use of any synthetic agricultural chemicals, such as fertilizers or pesticides. And here’s the thing: it doesn’t have to rain for cotton to get wet and refuse to dry–sweat is enough to make it super uncomfortable (and unsafe). The usual cotton is machine-cleaned. Yes, it contains no chemicals that could irritate your skin. Organic cotton is much better than usual cotton. These things all leave residues that can irritate the skin of chemically-sensitive people. Organic cotton is not chemically treated to prevent shrinkage so it is possible to experience shrinking. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Organic cotton doesn’t use pesticides. Or vice versa. Some sources say organic cotton uses less water than regular cotton. For instance, if you were to dry your organic cotton sheet in the dryer on a hot setting. or not. Here, the definition is much simpler, and hasn’t become confused. These can pollute waterways or nearby land. I'm not entirely sure why, other than perhaps to encourage buying organic? Organic Cotton. It’s more sustainable and causes a lot less damage to the planet we call home. To be classified as organic, cotton must be produced free of all synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. more information Accept. Then, you have to consider the location where the cotton is being grown. This is the first factor that reduces the quality of the finished product. GOTS certificate gives you the confidence that you’re buying truly organic cotton that is a healthy choice for the environment and for you. The machine-picked method damages the fibers. Organic cotton vs. Cotton: Feel . The Environmental Justice Foundation and Pesticide Action Network reported that conventional cotton uses more pesticides than any other single crop, thus dubbing it the world’s dirtiest crop. So avoid cotton for extreme adventures (whether that means extreme temps, distances, hours on the trail, or extreme weather), but when you do have to refresh your everyday wardrobe, when it comes to conventional cotton vs organic cotton, opt for organic. Conventional cotton yields (the amount of fiber per acre) tend to be higher than organic, creating a better return on land and water investments. Quality doesn’t come cheap! Read More: How to wash organic cotton bedding? Evidently, this wastes a lot of energy and produces a large amount of greenhouse gases. Sustainable Fabrics: Conventional Cotton vs Organic Cotton,,, How to Repair Outdoor Gear – Basic Outdoor Gear Maintenance and Repair, BioLite CampStove 2 Review – Everything you need to know about the BioLite CampStove, Sleep in Your Car: A Prius Platform Build (with no backseats), Sustainability Spotlight: Knickey Organic Cotton Underwear, Sustainability Spotlight: A Q&A with Picture Organic Clothing, New Osprey Rook vs Osprey Atmos Backpack Review, Challenger K1 Kayak Review: Inflatable Kayak Review 2020, The Best Vegan Hiking Boots and Shoes of 2020. Yes, as mentioned before, chemical residues are often a big problem for people who use conventional cotton products. These extra toxins and chemicals make conventional cotton risky. Organic Cotton vs. Normal Cotton: What’s the Difference. You cannot always trust a second-hand source who may have chosen the “studies” that suit their stance on the matter. Technically, neither should be softer than the other - the sole difference should be whether the cotton is produced organically (without pesticides, etc.) Therefore, the organic cotton growers have to charge more for their produce. By avoiding the use of inorganic fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides or fungicides during the cultivation process, as well as harmful chemicals, such as formaldehyde, during the manufacture it offers environmental benefits and follows human-healthy practices that we want to support by purchasing organic cotton products. If you’re trying to live a more eco-friendly life, switching … The basic necessities of soil, sun, water, and seeds are all used in growing organic cotton. Lots of brands tout organic cotton as better for the environment than conventional cotton. Organic Cotton vs Cotton (Differences between Organic Cotton and Conventional Cotton) In contrast, conventional cotton growers have the full array of tools at their disposal, whether it’s insecticides to ward off pests or synthetic fertilizers to maximize yield per acre grown. Organic cotton is a sustainable and eco-friendly option to regular cotton. Organic cotton is an essential material for someone who is trying to have a non-toxic lifestyle.

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