Organic Cotton 101: Production, Benefits, and More

Intro:

Certain textiles in the fashion industry are key to make clothing more eco-friendly, examples of that would be: organic cotton, hemp, linen and bamboo (depending on what kind). Here we will focus purely on organic cotton.


This article dives into what exactly is organic cotton, and why should you prefer it over conventional cotton? How is it recognisable.


At Snocks, we have dedicated ourselves to a more sustainable journey and aim not only to highlight the advantages of organic cotton but also to demonstrate how we incorporate it into our products.


Our mission is clear: to create fashionable basics that not only look good and feel good but are also good for our planet.


What is Organic Cotton?


Organic cotton is cultivated using organic farming techniques without the application of synthetic chemicals like pesticides and fertilisers.


This nature-centric cultivation not only protects the environment but also safeguards the organic farmers and individuals who grow and process the cotton, producing organic cotton fabrics that are notable in the textile industry for their soft fabric and organic cotton feel.


For a more comprehensive guide comparing organic cotton and conventional cotton, click here.


Differentiation from Conventional Cotton:


While conventional cotton undergoes treatment with a plethora of harsh chemicals and heavy metals that can potentially harm both the environment and humans, the cultivation of organic cotton leans into natural methods and processes.


Leaving harmful chemicals aside, the soil quality remains fertile and water sources clean, markedly reducing the ecological footprint of the cultivation process and helping to conserve natural resources.


How is Organic Cotton Cultivated?


The cultivation of organic cotton initiates with the selection of non-genetically modified seeds, avoiding GMO cotton. Throughout the entire manufacturing process, no synthetic pesticides or fertilisers are utilised.


Instead, organic cotton farmers rely on organic production systems and natural methodologies like crop rotation or employing beneficial insects to control pests.  This sustainable approach ensures the soil remains healthy and retains its fertility for years to come, contributing positively to global cotton production.


In contrast, non-organic cotton farming and conventional agriculture often involve the use of some of the most toxic chemicals and insecticides sold worldwide, posing risks like pesticide poisoning and negatively impacting organic crops.


Organically grown cotton, on the other hand, adheres to organic production standards, often requiring organic certification and utilizing natural pesticides as opposed to synthetic ones, ensuring a cleaner, more sustainable fabric production.


Advantages of Organic Cotton Cultivation:


  • Environmentally Friendly: Refraining from using harmful chemicals protects the soil and water sources.
  • Worker's Health: Without deploying toxic chemicals, individuals who grow and harvest the cotton are exposed to a lower health risk.
  • Gentler on the Skin: Garments made from organic cotton are often hypoallergenic and feel softer, making them ideal for sensitive skin.
  • Promoting a Sustainable Future: Cultivating organic cotton encourages sustainable agricultural practices that safeguard the planet for future generations.

Identifying It:


Ensuring genuine organic cotton is differentiated from conventional cotton is paramount, and thankfully, there are several indicators to assist us:


  • Certifications: Look out for seals like GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), OCS (Organic Cotton Standards), OEKO-TEX® - unlike GOTS & OCS, OEKO-TEX is not a always a direct indicator for organic cotton but represents textile safely.  These certifications guarantee that the cotton was grown without the use of harmful chemicals and meets strict ecological and social criteria.
  • Product Descriptions: Many manufacturers who use organic cotton emphasize this in their product descriptions and labels. A quick glance at the label or product page often provides clarity.
  • Price: Organic cotton can often be slightly more expensive than conventional cotton due to its sustainable and eco-friendly growth process.
  • Touch and Appearance: While not always the case, organic cotton can often be softer and have a more natural color tone than treated cotton.

At Snocks, we prioritise ensuring our customers know precisely what they are purchasing. That’s why we clearly label our organic cotton products on the box, ensuring transparency and trust. It’s worth choosing consciously and paying attention to these indications when purchasing.

Why is Organic Cotton Superior for People and the Environment?


Discovering the Benefits of Organic Cotton

Benefits for the Environment:

  • Reduced CO2 Emissions: Growing organic cotton demands less energy compared to conventional cotton production, significantly lowering CO2 emissions and aiding the battle against climate change.
  • Lesser Water Usage: Compared to traditional cotton, organic cotton uses up to 90% less water, preserving our precious water resources and reducing pressure on local water bodies.
  • Fewer Pesticides: Organic cotton farming skips the use of synthetic pesticides, protecting not only the soils and groundwater but also maintaining environmental biodiversity.


Benefits for the People:

  • Fair Wages: Cultivating organic cotton often supports smaller agricultural communities and ensures that farmers receive fair wages for their labor.
  • No GMOs: Organic cotton is grown without the use of genetic engineering, allowing people to opt for natural and unaltered products.
  • Enhanced Skin Health: Clothing made from organic cotton is free from harmful chemicals and pesticides, reducing the risk of skin irritations and allergies, making it particularly suitable for people with sensitive skin.

    Overall, transitioning to organic cotton is not only a decision in favour of the environment but also in the interest of the people who wear and produce these garments.  At Snocks, we try to take a sustainable approach and are proud to offer customers organic cotton products that are good for both people and the environment.

Comparison: Organic Cotton vs. Conventional Cotton


Next time you pull out a T-shirt, bedding, or dresses from the wardrobe, ask yourself: What material are these made of? Cotton is a popular raw material in the fashion industry, but not all types of cotton are equal. Here we compare organic cotton with conventional cotton, illuminating the properties, advantages, and disadvantages of both types.

Properties:
Organic Cotton:

  • Natural Fiber: As a pure natural fiber, organic cotton comes from organic farming, where no chemical pesticides or genetically modified plants are used.
  • Sustainable Cultivation: The cultivation of organic cotton promotes soil fertility and reduces water consumption.
  • Fiber Quality: The cotton fibers of organic cotton are often longer, softer, and less stressed by chemical

    Conventional Cotton:

  • Mass Production: Due to high demand, conventional cotton is produced in large quantities, often using pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
  • Shorter Fibers: The fibers of conventional cotton can often be shorter and weaker due to the use of chemicals.
  • Environmental Impact: The cultivation of conventional cotton can lead to soil impoverishment and higher water consumption.


Pros & Cons:
Organic Cotton
Pros:
  • Better for the environment due to reduced chemical use.
  • Promotion of biodiversity and healthier soils.
  • Often softer and more comfortable fabric for textiles.

    Cons:

  • Often higher costs for the end consumer.
  • Cannot be produced as quickly in the quantities demanded by the fashion industry.

    Conventional Cotton:
    Pros:
  • Faster and mass production.
  • Often cheaper to purchase.

    Cons:
  • Harmful to the environment due to high pesticide use.
  • Can have negative impacts on the health of cotton farmers and workers in textile factories.
  • Not sustainable in the long term as it can lead to soil impoverishment and water scarcity.

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