100% organic cotton
Do you also love cotton? The natural substance par excellence. Gentle on your skin, breathable and easy to maintain. Unfortunately, cotton production cannot really be called sustainable. The environmental impact is enormous. And although it is a natural material, liters of chemicals are used in its cultivation and processing. Cotton is therefore even called "the dirtiest crop".
Of course you also want to make your wardrobe more sustainable. Then organic cotton makes a world of difference for the farmer and his family, the workers in the textile factories,
nature and for yourself.
Organic cotton is ecological, soft and healthy. So perfect for the clothes you often wear such as t-shirts, pajamas, underwear and socks.
But what is the difference between organic and "normal" cotton? Is it mainly a marketing sauce and is organic not that different? Really makes it so
10 reasons to choose organic cotton
1. Healthier for you
Organic (bio) or organic cotton is grown without pesticides and insecticides. No harmful chemicals are used during processing. As a result, organic cotton does not contain residues of chemical products that may trigger allergies, be toxic or even carcinogenic. The ideal choice for clothing that you wear close to your skin, such as pajamas and other nightwear, t-shirts, underwear,...
2. Healthier for the farmer and his family
Regular cotton is usually grown with genetically modified seeds and requires large amounts of pesticides and insecticides. The figures speak for themselves: 16-20% of all insecticides used in the world go to cotton cultivation. And this while cotton only uses 2.5% of all agricultural land worldwide. This poison contaminates the soil and groundwater.
For the farmer, all that poison is expensive: about half of the cost of growing cotton is spent on it. Many farmers have no choice but to keep the jerry cans of poison at home. When they are empty they are reused to store water and food. A risk...
According to the World Health Organization, one million cotton workers are poisoned in this way every year. Of these, 20,000 to 40,000 die every year.
Farmers who grow organic cotton use natural ways to combat diseases instead of pesticides and insecticides. For example, they plant other crops that prevent diseases on the cotton. A second way is to use a natural pesticide such as the herb 'neem'. A third way ensures that natural enemies of cotton pests (such as ladybugs, birds, beetles, spiders, ants, parasitic wasps) find a suitable habitat. Finally, healthy soil prevents outbreaks of pests and diseases! This way of growing cotton is better for nature, biodiversity and healthier for the farmers.
3. Healthier for the textile workers
During the dyeing, treating and finishing of the fabric in the textile factories, up to 8,000 different dyes and chemicals are used. The millions of tons of chemical dye contain toxic and carcinogenic substances. In addition, the paint pollutes local rivers and waterways. Cheap dyes also rub off during washing or friction with your skin. They also contain heavy metals that fix the color. After dyeing comes the finishing, which is a post-treatment that ensures that the fabric shrinks or wrinkles less, is water- or dirt-repellent or fire-resistant. This makes the fabric last less long. Most chemicals are not biodegradable, and some are even banned in the EU. Every garment made from regular cotton contains harmful residues. These can cause allergies, breathing problems or rashes. At worst they are carcinogenic.
When making clothing from organic cotton, dangerous chemicals are no longer used in the factory. The dyes used are natural or water-based. Peroxide is used to whiten the fabric. A relief for your skin! But of course also less polluting and safer for the workers who dye, cut and sew the fabrics.
4. Less water needed
Depending on the region and species, growing organic cotton requires 91% less water! Regular cotton is grown in monoculture. This exhausts the soil. Organic cotton, on the other hand, is grown in rotation. The farmers who grow organic cotton ensure that the soils contain a higher level of organic matter, so that they retain water up to 30% better. There is less need for irrigation and more reliance is placed on natural rainfall.
5. Less CO2 emissions
The production of organic cotton uses less fossil fuels. CO2 emissions are on average 46% less than with regular cotton. Organic cultivation does not use chemicals or synthetic fertilizers. On the other hand, cultivation by cotton farmers is done on a smaller scale and more by hand, instead of with fuel-guzzling machines and irrigation systems.
6. Freedom for the farmer
Cotton farmers in India and China are extremely poor and poorly educated. They earn little, run great risks, work hard and long. Moreover, they have to buy new very expensive seeds after every harvest. Plants grow from genetically modified seeds that do not produce seeds themselves. They enter into contracts with large multinationals for the purchase of these seeds. Many farmers take on debt for this. As a result of global warming, periods of drought are becoming more common, temperatures are rising and harvests are failing. This causes local tragedies, farmer debt and even suicides...
When growing organic cotton, the farmer is free in his choices. He can reuse his seeds. He should also not take out heavy loans for the seeds or pesticides. Thanks to crop rotation, he can also grow organic food.
If the farmer also has a fair trade certificate, he receives a guaranteed price for his cotton. He also receives compensation for his family. This gives them access to water and children can go to school.
7. Fairer to the worker
The clothing industry is hard on those who make our clothes behind the scenes. Everything is aimed at producing as cheaply as possible. In low-wage countries, textile workers work in poor working conditions. Workers, especially women, work extremely long hours, working hours of 14 to 16 hours are no exception. Wages are usually too low to provide nutritious food or to send children to school. The factories are often poorly maintained or even in poor condition. Serious accidents such as fires happen regularly. The collapse of Rana Plaza in Dhaka (the capital of Bangladesh) in 2013 was a sad low point. More than 1,000 people died, more than 2,500 were injured. Not much seems to have changed since then and the Corona crisis also made it clear how vulnerable the workers and stitchers are. Well-known brands canceled their orders en masse without paying for them, so that the factories had no money to pay their staff.
Other problems such as working without a contract, harassment and inequality and even child labor are no exceptions.
Organic cotton textile factories are regularly inspected according to a list of social criteria. The criteria are based on the standards of the International Labor Organization. For example, it is checked whether working hours are not excessive. Whether the working conditions are safe and hygienic. And wages are livable. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to a living wage. That is a wage with which you can provide clean water, housing, clothing, food, education, health care, transport and which is enough to also save a little. Other criteria include the prohibition of discrimination, forced labor and child labor.
8. More animal-friendly
Residues from the pesticides, insecticides and chemicals used in growing and processing regular cotton contaminate soil and groundwater, waterways and the ocean. In addition to pollution, it is downright threatening to biodiversity and dangerous for animals. That's why organic is friendlier to animals!
9. Gentler on your skin
Organic cotton is picked by hand, regular cotton is usually harvested by machine. The fibers of organic cotton are usually longer. By picking them by hand, the fibers are not damaged, which means the fabrics are usually softer and last longer. Perfect for the basics that you often wear and that you want to feel good in, such as your t-shirts and your nightwear.
10. You make the difference
Only 0.7% of all cotton grown in the world is organic. Organic cotton has clear benefits for everyone involved in making your clothes and for yourself. When you choose organic instead of regular cotton, you send a strong signal. You have the power to influence brands, producers and even farmers. Together let's ensure that organic cotton becomes more important!