There is a school of thought that using cotton, since it is natural, qualifies as a sustainable practice whether it be in apparel or home goods. Although it is a naturally occurring plant, conventional cotton is often grown with genetically modified seeds, copious amounts of pesticides and chemicals, and synthetic fertilizers.
Conventional cotton sometimes uses toxic chemicals during the harvesting stage to induce defoliation (making harvesting the bolls possible). More chemicals and bleach may also be used in the finishing process. When you take into account that conventional cotton is the most widely grown crop in the world, it puts into perspective the impact this has on our environment.
The chemicals used in the production process affect the air, soil, and water as well as being harmful to the farmers that grow it. The soil can become depleted from the mono-crop growing model and excess amounts of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere.
There is hope though. Organic cotton is growing in popularity and is a vastly safer and healthier product. Untreated, GMO-free seeds are used to grow it, natural methods used instead of pesticides, and natural defoliation is used in the harvesting process. Crop rotation is used to keep soil healthy which helps retain moisture and increase the fertile organic matter present.
Rendering of organic cotton fibers.
During yarn production, safe peroxide is used to whiten the yarn, and finishing is done without harmful chemicals. Organic cottons are also much more likely to be dyed and printed with low impact and natural dyes. Many consumers also find organic cotton to be softer and of a superior quality. Although organic cotton may be more expensive up front, the cost of conventional cotton is a far higher one to our planet, the communities that grown it, and the generations that will inherit the pollution it causes.
One of the most important certifications consumers can look for to ensure they are buying true organic is the GOTS certification (The Global Organic Textile Standard). This ensures that each facility and step of production has been properly certified. All of the Organic Cotton on our site is GOTS certified to ensure the highest ans safest quality.
Cruise Hoodie in Organic Cotton.
The Organic Trade Association and Green America are two other organizations that promote organic trade, sustainability, and ethical practices in both farming and production. These companies all promote information and resources that can help consumers make informed choices.