Is organic cotton the better choice?
A long time ago, the hype with the organic way of life started and organic cotton became more popular choice. The question remains the same: Is organic cotton the better choice?
Basic Knowledge: Where we use cotton?
Cotton is enormously important in our daily life. We use cotton in clothes, diapers, sheets, cosmetics and even eat some parts of the cotton crop!
GMO (genetically modified organisms)
People do not know that most of the seeds for conventional cotton production is genetically modified to yield more fibres and being more resistant to pests and parasites. The problem is, that insects and parasites will also become resistant to the changes we made. The best methods work with nature, rather than against the nature. Understanding the system and the natures symbiosis, means to understand how natural co-existing species can keep pests and other enemies from infesting the crop.
A conventional cotton farmer has to buy new GMO seeds every year, because of the extensive use of pesticides and insecticides. Due to these chemicals the crops are not perennial any longer and have to be replaced annually. Organic cotton is perennial and provides the farmer with new and healthy seeds every year!
Chemicals for growing cotton
It needs a lot of insecticides and herbicides to keep the conventional cotton field free of any parasites and pests. These chemicals do not only kill parasites but also the natural co-existing species. It’s a vicious circle!
Organic and biological farmers use different natural methods to keep their crops healthy and to control weeds and pests. This includes intercropping and planting crops, which the insects like more (like sun flowers!) or the use of mulches. To prevent monocultures and the consequences, the farmers plant different other plants to keep the soil healthy.
Eventually the farmers save a lot of money without being “forced” to buy a large number of herbicides, insecticides and seeds year after year! Last but not least they are not any longer exposed to hazardous chemicals!
Use of Water
Cotton crops need a lot of water! Most people think, that GMO crops need less water resources than the organic counterpart – unbelievable but you’re wrong!
As conventional cotton farmers do not practice any crop rotation the soil loses many important characteristics. This is actually the reason why they need fertilizers and other artificial additives.
On biological and organic fields that’s usually done by replacing chemicals with composts and more frequent rotations. The water absorption capacity of the soil relates directly with its vitality. For the transition from conventional to organic farming the crops indeed need more water but the time has proven that after the transition, the cotton crops needs 30% less water! This depends on the eco-system and may vary from field to field.
Furthermore, organic cotton does not waste any resources by producing chemicals!
So we killed two birds with one stone!
(Please explain your little one that we did not seriously kill two birds!)
Unfortunately, cotton needs sub-tropic to tropic climate to bloom perfectly. This means the entire process will not work without any transport and shipping (except we would only wear fur. But that’s not a very good option! 🙂
So that’s a huge carbon footprint for your new baby bodysuit! At the moment there are sadly not many more options to reduce the carbon footprint except using an eco-friendly shipping method!
Ben & Emma ships as eco-friendly as possible and avoids carriers without any understanding for ecological delivery. In fact, we choose the Swiss post service as they offer a compensation option for the carbon used to deliver the parcel. At least a beginning? Right? We believe in it!
Would be quite boring without any colours or prints on your new sweet baby romper right? But there is another huge and hidden problem!
Many chemical dyes contain heavy metals, benzene and other hazardous chemicals. It requires large quantities of water to wash out the dye residues! The solution is called low-impact dye.
Low-impact dyes require less water (depending on colour between 70% – 80%) in the rinse process and have a much higher absorption rate than conventional dyes. Further the low-impact dyes meet the requirements of the Oeko-Tex Standard 100. To meet this standard, the usage of any toxic substances or heavy metals (like zinc, chrome and copper) is completely forbidden.
In our daily life the price decides mostly if we buy the product or not. But before you’ll buy the cheap bodysuit of a big player, think about all the impacts to our earth and also to the people working for this sweet bodysuit! You are paying for fair wages, healthy life of farmers, clean water and healthy soil. You provide everybody and everything from A – Z with a better future.
And do not forget that organic cotton clothes last longer than the conventional ones. At the bottom line you will not literally pay more – you only pay initially more.
In fact, you are investing in the health of your family as you avoid hazardous chemicals!
To sum up: Is organic cotton the better choice finally?
Organic cotton is not the mighty solution to all our problems. It’s not perfect but is perfection attainable in our daily life? Does change not start in small steps towards a greater future?
The next time you have the option between conventional and organic products you can wisely choose the best option for you and your family!
Ben & Emma