Key facts, tips on care, benefits and brands - we present everything worth knowing about sustainable organic cotton
Author: Katharina Healing
- The benefits of organic cotton protect people and nature worldwide
- There are numerous seals for organic cotton, including GOTS and IVN
- Numerous brands use organic cotton in textiles for clothing and living
What is organic cotton and what are the advantages?Organic cotton is characterized by the fact that no pesticides or genetic manipulation are used in its cultivation. It is therefore healthier for both the environment and people. The advantages are:
- No genetic engineering
- Reduction of water waste
- No chemical fertilizers
- Prevention of monocultures
1. No genetic engineeringMany farmers resort to genetic engineering to make the cotton plants resistant to pests and more resistant to environmental conditions. About two thirds of all cotton plants grown worldwide are genetically modified varieties, according to TransGen Database. This does not work without risk: genetic diversity is lost, the spread occurs uncontrolled, the plants form unforeseen resistances and the farmers make themselves dependent on the manufacturers of the seeds and pesticides. Organic cotton, on the other hand, produces seeds that generate new yields. In addition, the use of genetic engineering and pesticides is strictly prohibited here.
Cotton buds Image source: BCI
2. Reduction of water wasteThe cultivation of cotton uses large amounts of water. According to a study by BCI the production of a cotton sheet in conventional production uses up to 10.000 liters of water. Around 80 percent of this is used to grow cotton. Also the fiber comparison portal MSI Higgs index states: "Cotton is the fiber crop with the highest water requirements". With organic cotton, however, large amounts of water can be saved efficiently. For example, in rainy regions, rainwater is collected to irrigate the fields. But the use of drip irrigation systems also reduces the conventional consumption of water. In addition, the soil of organic cultivation contains more organic substances and can store more water due to changing plants and fewer monocultures. This means that up to 91% less water is consumed than when conventional cotton is grown.
3. No chemical fertilizersIn organic cotton fields, chemical-synthetic agents are not used for plant protection. Instead, the focus is on natural fertilization methods. This protects the plants themselves, while it is also gentler on the soil, the field workers and also the biodiversity. Even end consumers benefit because organic cotton does not transfer toxins to the skin. Since cotton already has a low allergy potential, organic cotton irritates the skin even less.
4. Prevention of monoculturesIn order to make the yields as effective as possible, farmers often replant the cotton fields immediately after the harvest. The used soils cannot recover well and monocultures arise. These are more susceptible to pests, weeds and require more fertilizers. Conversely, this means using even more toxic crop protection and fertilizers. Organic cotton is not the case.
There is still a lot of potential for growing organic cottonThe world's largest producers of conventional cotton are India, China, the United States, Brazil and sub-Saharan Africa. Cotton is the primary source of foreign exchange in many developing countries. In addition, 65% of cotton producers are small farmers. During production, these are often suppressed and exploited. This promotes child labor as well as the excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides, which significantly damages the local environment (BMZIn the production of organic cotton, on the other hand, these farmers are guaranteed fair wages, they do not come into contact with harmful chemicals and can thus guarantee their livelihood. The production share of organic cotton is currently around 19% worldwide. Thanks to many global initiatives, this trend is increasing. However, our consumer behavior also plays a major role in increasing the organic content. Consciously choosing sustainable cotton products increases demand and thus the global share of production in the long term.
Image source BCI, Copyright by Nicholas Adatsi
Quality sigle for organic cotton
- Fair Wear Foundation
- Fairtrade Cotton and Fairtrade Textile
Care of organic cottonIn order to guarantee the longevity of the soft fiber, important care is required.
- Outerwear & pants: 30 ° C
- Underwear, socks & bed linen: 60-90 ° C
- No special detergent is necessary, but it should be plastic-free
- Separate colored, light & dark laundry
to remove stains
- In order to avoid loss of color, it is first necessary to check the color fastness on the inside
- Gall soap and panamarind extract are suitable for processing stains
- Rub in the stain and then wash the textile
- Air drying instead of a dryer
- To avoid unsightly wrinkles, you can hang a T-shirt or sweatshirt, for example, on a hanger to dry
- Alternatively: after washing, pull into shape and dry flat
- In many cases, ironing after lying or hanging drying is superfluous
- If you want to iron, the fabric can withstand temperatures up to 200 ° C
- It is advisable to iron the fabric slightly damp and at the lowest possible temperature
Top 10 brands that use certified organic cottonIn the case of organic cotton, no genetically modified seeds are used, water consumption is significantly lower and the soil and the environment are also spared toxic chemicals and fertilizers. In addition, the biodiversity is preserved, the production runs safely for all workers and of course your own skin is spared. So the conscious decision for organic cotton is worth it! Many small labels only use them, but large companies are increasingly opting for certain products.
Our favorite brands
Image source & Copyright by People Tree
- People Tree
- Organic basics
- Armedangels jeans
- Amour Vert
Image source & Copyright by Komodo
- Waer Pact
- Knowledge Cotton
- Alternative apparel
Image source & Copyright by Rise & Fall
- Rise & Fall