Cotton is a natural fiber that has been used in clothing for centuries. It is popular because it is light, breathable, soft, durable, easy to handle, and easy to absorb dyes. It is the largest non-agricultural non-food product, accounting for 21% of the world’s textile consumption, and is believed to employ 350 million people in the manufacturing industry. In the past, cotton was also called “white gold” because of the lucrative industries of countries like Uzbekistan.
It is superior to synthetic ones in some respects (that is, it is not made from fossil fuels, it does not release plastic into the waterways, and has the ability to decompose properly), but unfortunately, it is conventional. Cultivation and production of cotton have many drawbacks. Traditional cotton cultivation relies heavily on the use of chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers, as well as genetically modified seeds and large amounts of water.
But that’s not our only option.
In 2008, organic cotton accounted for 0.6% of the world’s cotton production, but since then the world’s production has increased. However, once harvested, organically grown plants can be mixed with synthetic fibers or treated with toxic chemicals. This makes it easier for brands to flush their sustainability claims to the green and can feel like a minefield when trying to find something that isn’t harmful.
For this reason, seeking external authentication whenever possible is the best option. These certifications usually work as a whole to ensure proper treatment of people and the environment, eliminate toxic substances from production and protect workers’ rights.
What is organic cotton?
Cotton made without the use of synthetic chemicals, d. NS. Cultivated plant growth regulators, defoliants, and fertilizers are considered “organic cotton”.
The production of organic cotton not only means that it is done without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, but the entire cultivation system needs to be planned very carefully. In general, organic cotton is grown using methods and materials that have less impact on the environment, and organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, and biodiversity. Build a farming system. In the production of organic cotton, “natural” chemicals such as sulfur powder and Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis additive and non-insect resistant biotechnology cotton) for pest control, and organic acid-based leaves such as citric acid and nitrogen Use a surface spray. Cotton containing Zinc Sulfate Biotech -Bt or other artificially introduced genes at harvest is currently considered synthetic genetically engineered and unnatural, so it should not be used in the production of organic cotton. It will not be.
Why organic cotton?
Cotton evokes the image of white and fluffy purity, and many consider cotton to be a natural and pure fabric. Cotton is a very versatile and globally important fiber, used in a variety of fibers and foods, and is one of the most widely traded raw materials in the world. Versatility, softness, breathability, absorbency, year-round comfort, performance, and durability are just a few of the things that have made cotton a popular status.
Cotton is breathable due to its unique fiber structure that can absorb up to 2.7 times its own weight in water, absorbing water from the body and keeping it away from the skin to allow it to escape.
Cotton is not only the most popular and best-selling fabric in the world but also an integral part of forex revenue in more than 50 countries due to its immense commercial value. The value and reach of cotton go far beyond the catwalk.
So, we put cotton on our skin. Because it breathes, absorbs, and provides comfort. Cotton has a reputation for being pure and is the perfect fabric for children’s clothing.
However, most of the cotton sold today does not deserve this natural reputation. Many unnatural and extremely dangerous chemicals are used in the production and processing of cotton.
Cotton is one of the most heavily applied crops in the world, accounting for more than 10% of pesticide use and nearly 23% of the world’s agricultural pesticide sales. According to Pesticide Action Network statistics, it takes about a quarter-pound to make a cotton T-shirt and two-thirds pounds to make jeans.
According to Dr. Doug Murray, a professor of sociology at Colorado State University, “the most dangerous pesticides available in cotton are used today” during research into the use of pesticides in cotton abroad.
Cotton is cultivated in more than 50 developing countries. The major producing countries are the United States, China, India, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan.
The impact of this chemical abuse on the environment and human health is alarming. For example, the use of pesticides and fertilizers on cotton is associated with pollution of groundwater and surface water, as well as drinking water. High enough nitrates from nitrogen fertilizer in drinking water can cause methemoglobinemia or “blue infant syndrome” in infants.
In California, volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from cotton pesticides exceed 11 million pounds, and traditional cotton is the largest source of VOC emissions in the state. And in California, cotton ranks third in the state in terms of total pesticide-related diseases. For wildlife, the effects of pesticide use on cotton can be devastating. At least 13 pesticides that have been reported to cause migratory bird extinction are currently registered for use in cotton.
Even more insidious is the effect of some pesticides on fish breeding, which does not cause immediate damage to wildlife, but the seeds may disappear due to poor breeding.
There is a general four-step process to turn cotton seeds into cotton garments.
Planting and Growth
Cotton Ball Cleaning or “Jinning”,
- a) Cotton Fiber Spinning to Make Threads,
- b) Weaving or Knitting, Cotton Fabric Balls,
- c) Dyed fabrics,
- d) Finishing process to make smooth fabrics,
- e) Cutting and sewing garments for consumers.
Step 1. Planning and Cultivation
Organically grown cotton. Working with nature rather than against it is the guideline for organic farming. Organic farmers use organic farming systems to grow their crops rather than chemically dependent farming systems. While many traditional farmers respond to environmental hazards from single cultivation, organic farmers focus on avoiding problems before they occur.
Organic farmers can maintain ecological balance and protect the environment by focusing on management rather than eliminating annoying weeds and insects. Organic cotton is currently grown in more than 18 countries around the world. In the United States, about 10,000 acres of organic cotton were cultivated in 1998 in Midsouth, Texas, and California.
Soil: Organic farming begins with healthy soil. Soil is considered a living system, not just a medium for plant growth. Compost, efficient nutrient cycles, frequent crop rotations, and catch crops replace synthetic fertilizers to keep the soil healthy and productive.
Weed Control: Organic Farmers include hoes and other mechanical weed control equipment, crop rotation, planting multiple crops together (covering crops), more efficient use of irrigation water, and mulching. There are many options for weed control, such as using and even adjusting the planting date. The density of their crops.
Pest Control: By promoting biodiversity, farmers create conditions that reduce the potential for insects, birds, or mammals to cause significant damage to crops. To control pests, organic farmers can use beneficial predatory insects, crop rotations, mixed crops, and organic pesticides such as neem oil.
Step 2. Harvest
Cotton is harvested by traditional methods.
After a toxic blunder during the growing season, the chemical illness only continues. At harvest, herbicides are used to defoliate the cotton to facilitate harvesting. The global impact is that chemicals pollute groundwater and rivers with potentially carcinogenic compounds. Large harvesters compress the soil and reduce soil productivity.
Organic cotton is often carefully selected without the use of defoliants, machinery, or chemicals, especially in developing countries. Hand-picking also reduces waste.
Step 3. Cleaning and Cotton Gin
So far, we’ve only moved to the end of the cotton gin, but that’s not all. The manufacture of cotton fibers into fabrics and garments involves several major processes such as cleaning, spinning, knitting or weaving, dyeing, cutting and assembling, finishing, and cleaning.
Before making cotton fibers from cotton, some cleaning steps are required. After processing the plant with a cotton gin, the product is distributed to the textile producer. Textile makers also remove plants and other debris by splitting and combing lint.