“Organic cotton”— Facts
Organic cotton is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment of chemicals also helps reducing pollution. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture and promote balance of ecosystems. Organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and synthetic fertilizers and genetically engineered seeds.
How is organic cotton grown?
• Organic cotton is usually rain-fed and not irrigated.
• Farmers use composted manures and cover-crops to replace synthetic fertilizers.
• Innovative weeding strategies are used instead of herbicides. Beneficial insects and trap-crops are used to control pests.
• Nature’s frost and water inducement prepare plants for harvest, instead of using toxic defoliants.
Organic cotton is alternative to Cotton….Why?
Cotton ranks second for most pesticide use of all crops. It takes about 1/3 of a pound of pesticides and herbicides to grow enough conventional cotton for just one T-shirt.
It’s estimated that there are up to 5 million cases of pesticide poisoning every year among agricultural workers in developing countries, causing symptoms that include vomiting, headaches, impaired memory, confusion, tremors, lack of co-ordination, seizures, and severe depression. Every year, 20,000 of these cases result in death.
In 1997, large apparel companies in U.S. purchased 2.15 million pounds of organic cotton, which eliminated an estimated 43,000 pounds of pesticides and 485,190 pounds of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer.
Benefits or Organic Cotton…..
Farmers, traders, retailers and consumers all benefit from the economic, social and ecological advantages of organic cotton projects.
Benfits to Producers
• Organic production ensures that soil fertility is maintained or improved. Severe pest infestation is prevented by maintaining a natural balance between potential pests and their natural enemies.
• In organic production systems, farming input costs are considerably lower, since most of the inputs are produced from local resources at farm level (compost, manure, natural pesticides). An enhanced crop rotation provides farmer families with a range of different food crops, thus improving their food security and reducing their dependency on the cotton market. Furthermore, the organic production model is often based on long-term partnerships between all the stakeholders along the value chain, strengthening the farmer’s economic security.
• The exposure to dangerous chemicals is reduced leading to better health of all the farmers, weavers, knitters, dyers, printers and everybody else involved at all stages of manufacturing including small things like final washing and stain removal.
Benefits for Consumers
It’s always tempting to go for the bargain bin at the clothing store and ignore pricier organic-cotton clothing. But the other stuff is only cheap because so many costs have been externalized. Organic cotton growers and clothing manufacturers take responsibility for all costs—financial, environmental, and human. They deserve our support.
• Very Soft
• Breathable More absorbent than conventional cotton
• Friendly to the skin
• No harmful chemicals involved in its production
• Hypoallergenic – can be worn by people with chemical sensitivities
• Minimal shrinkage
• Easy to clean
• Do good for the environment
• Have a positive impact on the producers livelihoods
What kinds of products are made using organic cotton?
As a result of consumer interest, organic cotton fiber is used in everything from personal care items (sanitary products, make-up removal pads, cotton puffs and ear swabs), to home furnishings (towels, bathrobes, sheets, blankets, bedding), children’s products (toys, diapers), clothes of all kinds and styles (whether for lounging, sports or the workplace), and even stationery and note cards.
In addition, organic cottonseed is used for animal feed, and organic cottonseed oil is used in a variety of food products, including cookies and chips.
How fast is the organic fiber market growing?
In 2009, organic fiber sales in the United States grew by 10.4 percent over the previous year, to reach $521 million. The future looks promising, with organic fiber products appearing in more and more mainstream outlets in addition to niche stores all over the world.