Although the word "organic" is most commonly associated with food, it's also important to choose organic when shopping for clothing too.
Conventional cotton is grown with pesticides, insecticides, and GMO’s and requires a great amount of water and energy to produce.
On the contrary, “Organic cotton is cotton that is produced and certified to organic agricultural standards. Its production sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people by using natural processes rather than artificial inputs. Importantly organic cotton farming does not allow the use of toxic chemicals or GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Instead, it combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote a good quality of life for all involved." (Definition by Textile Exchange)
Some big perks of choosing organic cotton over conventional:
1. It saves water and energy
It’s estimated that roughly 9,910 gallons of water are used to produce a single pair of jeans, compared to just 932 gallons if the same jeans were made using organic cotton. That is a mind blowing 8,978 gallons of water saved!
2. No use of pesticides, insecticides, or GMO's
According to Textile Exchange, “Conventional cotton uses about 16% of the world’s insecticides and 7% of pesticides.” where as organic cotton uses none.
3. Lifestyle and wellbeing of farmers improves
The harmful chemicals in pesticides and insecticides used to grow non-organic cotton has been found to poison farmers, can cause cancer, and even death.
"pesticides were responsible for an estimated 200,000 acute poisoning deaths each year. Some 99 per cent of fatalities occurred in developing countries where health, safety and environmental regulations were weaker."
In addition to improved health and safety, in a sustainability assessment taken by Textile Exchange, 65% of producer groups have Fair Trade or decent work policies, 84% report community benefits associated with organic cotton, and 96% grow crops for their own use.
So next time you're shopping, try and choose organic cotton over conventional and seek out brands using sustainable materials who aim to lessen their environmental impact.