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Organic Cotton, is it a better choice?

By Be Quality | Comments: 0 | May 8, 2020

During these last years you might have heard & read about  ‘organic cotton’, but do you know what it is? and the difference with the non-organic cotton? Is it really making a better impact on the environment? Is it just a commercial strategy? And… is it really worth it to pay more for an organic cotton garment?

As many of the organic food you choose for your daily diet, the organic cotton fibre grows under the same natural & environmentally friendly conditions.

The seeds on organic cotton are not GMO.

A natural seed has the same genetic information as its parents. This means a plant produces naturally the seeds, with no man intervention.

In this over-production era, the main objective is to increase the efficency of the fields. It should be noted that, if in the old traditional farming we used to obtain 1 ton of cotton fibre in one field, now we obtain 1,5 tons in the same field. This is because some companies have invented new ways to increase the productivity of a plantation by modifying the genetic information of the seeds in a laboratory, creating Genetically Modified Organisms. During the last decades a huge quantity of crops use GMO seeds. As a result, some plants become more resistant to insects, to pests, to herbicides, etc. Consequently, on time, insects develop and get stronger, so this genetic modification is not enough anymore and further modifications have to be done…

The soil in which they grow is enriched in a natural way

by composting organic material, by crop rotation, by symbiotic associations, etc. Using one or a combination of these organic methods not only enriches the soil, but also retains for longer the water from the soil.

Composting organic material

is putting all the ‘discarded’ plant elements (leaves, cut herbs, etc)  in a reservoir to allow them to decompose and transform into nutrition for the plants again thanks to the action of microorganisms. This is due to a natural characteristic in all the organic materials: they are biodegradable.

The crop rotation

In addition to composting, consists in changing in sequenced season the family of plants grown on the same piece of land. Each family plant has preferences of nutrients, and in exchange,  they release to the soil some other components.  Indeed, this creates a higher richness on the soil.

Symbiotic associations

means that on the same field there are a combination of organisms that support each other, and which results in the benefit of all the organisms that maintain intimate interaction.

On the other hand, traditional agriculture uses the same land over the years for the same plantation. In other words, it takes from the soil more nutrients than what it can regenerate naturally. This leads to a degradation of the soils’ quality with low nutrients, specially if it’s a high productive plant. For this reason, over the years the crops are weak and unhealthy. Consequently, the use of synthetic nutrients and intensive watering are necessary to overcome this, and as a result, in water wastage.

The organic cotton is hand picked.

As a consequence, we obtain a higher quality of fibres: more  longer fibres, as well as more resistant. This is because the fibres are much less damaged comparing it to mechanical harvesting and leads to a higher purity on the fibres.

The control of pests and insects

in organic farming is a combination of soil tillage adjustment, the use of natural predators (known as biological control agents), of organic pesticides that are biodegradable, etc . Above all, there is no use of chemical toxic products to protect the crops on an organic farming.

The weed control in organic agriculture

is made by hand, by hoeing , etc, avoiding the herbicides so hugely used on the intensive agriculture. The herbicides are chemical products that weaken the crops, as the farmers’ health, and the land around the croping fields. It’s important to know that the chemicals permeate in the lands and spread in an invisible way in a radius of many kilometers.

Water

Particularly in this moment, it is a key element for all the planet today. Absolutely in organic farming the use of water is much more efficient. In fact, several estimations show that organic cotton farming uses only around 10% of the water used on non-organic cotton farming. It is a huge difference, supported by the fact that a rich soil keeps longer the humidity. In addition, organic farming gathers water from rain.

Toxicity on your Garments

Non-organic dyeing and the pesticides on the non-organic farming can be very pollutant and also dangerous for your health. In fact today there are increasing the cases of allergies or eczema on the skin, due to the toxicity of the chemicals used. Some of these can be even carcinogenic.

On the other hand, the organic cotton fabric is dyed with natural or synthetic products that are biodegradable and cause no harm to the environment, neither to the workers or the people using these garments. They are anallergic and safe for delicate skins.

How do we know a garment is made with Organic Cotton?

There are independent accrediting organizations that release a certificate  to the farming structures which comply with the organic requirements. This a complex process and include auditings on site.

The associations which release the Organic certificates for cotton crops are:

OCS, GOTS, USDA Organic, IVN Best

However, today less than 1% of the global cotton production is from organic farming. Indeed, on 2014/2015 it was 0.4% according to Textile Exchange Organisation.

Important Advantages of the use of Organic Cotton:

In conclusion, I hope you now have an idea of how organic cotton is grown, and the difference with a chemical or a non organic farming. The main advagntages of using organic cotton are:

  1. Do not harm farmers and the people living around the area.
  2. Doesn’t affect the biodiversity of the area, meaning that it does not harm plants or animals living on those fields.
  3. Keeps the richness of the soil for long term.
  4. Reduces the water consumption of around 80-90% comparing to non-organic cotton farming.
  5. Garments made in organic cotton are free of toxic pesticides that could cause allergies, eczemas and even cancer.

And now, do you think Organic Cotton is a better choice?

We do think is the best choice.

For these reasons, all very important for us, we use only organic cotton since the begining. In addition, we use a premium cotton, the Peruvian Pima, one of the finest quality you may find. We buy it from certified suppliers. We are not certified yet as it is a costly process, we have the certification from our suppliers. It’s on our list to be certified organic. Work in Progress.

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