WHAT IS ORGANIC COTTON?
Organic Cotton is cotton that is grown without using any chemical fertilizers or pesticides on it. It is grown on land that has been treated and given sufficient time (at least three years) for the removal of all the toxic residues of chemical fertilizers and pesticides used earlier on it. The cotton is from original plants, meaning plants that are not genetically modified and that have not been treated with any chemicals (washes, bleaches, colors, or scents) during its processing and packaging.
WHY ORGANIC COTTON?
|seed preparation:||Natural, untreated GMO free seeds.||Typically treated with fungicides or insecticides. Possible GMOs.|
|soil preparation:||Healthy soil through crop rotation. Retains moisture in soil from increased organic matter.||Synthetic fertilizers, loss of soil due to mono- crop culture, intensive irrigation.|
|weed control:||Healthy soil creates natural balance. Beneficial insects and trap crops used.||Aerial spraying of insecticides and pesticides. Nine of the most commonly used pesticides are known cancer-causing agents.|
|harvesting:||Natural defoliation from freezing temperatures or through the use of water management.||Defoliation induced with toxic chemicals.|
|production:||Warp fibers stabilized using double-plying or nontoxic cornstarch.||Warp fibers stabilized using toxic waxes.|
|whitening:||Safe peroxide is used.||Chlorine bleaching creates toxic by-products, which are released into the environment.|
|finishing:||Soft scour in warm water with soda ash, for a pH of 7.5 to 8.||Hot water, synthetic surfactants, additional chemicals (sometimes formaldehyde).|
|dyeing:||Low-impact fiber-reactive or natural dyes with low metal and sulfur content.||High temperature containing heavy metals and sulfur.|
|printing:||Low-impact, water-based inks and/or pigments with no heavy metals.||Pigments may be petroleum based and contain heavy metals. Run-off spills into waterways, polluting streams.|
|fair trade:||Social criteria in place to ensure safe, healthy, non-abusive, nondiscriminatory environment with living wages.||No social screening. Possible child or forced labor used. Facilities may be unsafe and unhealthy.|
|marketing:||Positive story can be told to differentiate you from your competitors.||None. As awareness of organic advantage expands, increased potential for negative image.|
|price:||Initial cost more expensive. Long-term advantages: priceless.||Initially cheaper. Long-term impact on environment: devastating.|
WHY CHOOSE ORGANIC COTTON?
When you choose organic cotton instead of conventional, for each piece of clothing you can potentially save water, energy and carbon emissions. It may not seem like much but start adding up the potential impact you could have made by converting the cloths in your entire wardrobe.
ORGANIC COTTON BENEFITS & USES
Organic cotton can be found in everything, from clothing, footwear and home furnishings (towels, bathrobes, sheets, blankets, bedding), to children’s products (clothing, toys, diapers), personal care items (sanitary products, make-up removal pads, cotton puffs and ear swabs), and even stationery and note cards. Organic Cotton can rightly be called the most skin-friendly, most soothing, and most harmless natural fiber. While conventional cotton can sometimes be irritating to newborn skins, Organic Cotton is never like that. It is the ideal material for protecting and cleaning newborn babies, particularly for making clothes, bandages, covering and cleaning wounds, baby crib beddings, baby clothes, towels, and thousands of such things. It can also be safely used in surgeries where contamination from any source can be fatal. Organic Cotton Seed Oil, a byproduct of Organic Cotton, has wide uses in snacks and in feed for livestock.
Must Do: Before buying garments or other goods made of Organic Cotton, make sure following;
It is certified by a recognized certifying authority.
It does not have dazzling colors, as they are seldom organic.
It should not be artificially scented.
It should not be chemically bleached.
The Class of Certificate, the whereabouts of the certifying agency, details of contents are clearly indicated on the pack.
Certifiers: Here is a list of certifiers whose certificates you may find on the certified Organic Cotton goods;
Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS)
USDA National Organic Program (NOP)
European Organic Regulations (EU 2092/91)
Export Certificates for Japan (JAS Equivalent)
Indian National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP).
Quebec Organic Reference Standard (CAAQ)
Bio Suisse Standards
IOFAM Basic Standards