With the launch of The Organic Cotton Initiative (a joint Soil Association and GOTS campaign) we thought it was worth revisiting Eco Textiles and why it is important to buy organic clothes. Lately there has been a lot of talk about the benefits or non benefits of organic food when it comes to nutrients contents and direct link to our health forgoing the issue of conventional agriculture on the environment.
The textile industry has a huge impact on the environment and choosing Eco Textiles does help preserving the world around us. Eco Textiles can also benefit people with sensitive skins and allergies as the use of toxic chemicals or dyes is forbidden or limited.
Often known as the natural fibre, conventional cotton uses around 9% of the world’s agrochemical pesticides, about 20% of the world’s insecticides and 8% of the world’s chemical fertilizers. This is because cotton flowers are very prone to attacks from insects which has led conventional cotton growers to using those very high levels of chemicals as well as using GM cotton seeds.
A typical conventional cotton t-shirt uses about 150 grams of acutely toxic pesticides and insecticides.
The high levels of chemicals have disastrous effects on farmers health (such as cancer) and pollute the environment while affecting biodiversity. Chemicals can also enter the food chain as cotton bi-products such as cotton seed oil are used in many processed food.
Organic Cotton is grown without the use of pesticides and insecticides that plagued conventional cotton production.
While yields of organic cotton are generally lower than conventional cotton, organic cotton farmers do not have to buy expensive chemicals or GM crops.
“Organic cotton production never uses GM seed. The small-scale farmers who produce the majority of our cotton need reliability, not high risks. Using low external inputs that are locally available, organic allows farmers to work within their limits and with their environment, in a sustainable way. Organic cotton puts choices in the farmer’s hands.” (Source: http://www.cottonedon.org)
Organic farming helps preserve biodiversity while sustaining a healthy environment for humans.
“Organic farmers grow a diversity of crops to maintain healthy and fertile soils and fight off pests. By diversifying crops, farmers can also diversify their income. Growing food or other crops helps insure organic farmers against crop failure, climate variability, price volatility and changes in market demand.” (Source: http://www.cottonedon.org)
“Organic farming practices create healthy soils which make better use of water inputs and are more resilient in drought conditions. By eliminating the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilisers, organic cotton keeps waterways and drinking water safe and clean. The water pollution impact of organic has been shown to be 98% less than non-organic cotton production.” (Source: http://www.cottonedon.org)
Organic Cotton is believed to benefit people with sensitive skins such as babies, childrens, people prone to eczema and psoriasis, as well as people with chemical sensitivities.