Organic cotton vs Cotton

There are many reasons why organic cotton is better than conventional cotton. Organic cotton uses only non-genetically modified seeds and is grown without using toxic synthetic chemicals, pesticides, or fertilizers. Organic cotton production reduces human, animal, and environmental impact. Organic cotton must be independently certified in order to be called organic.

Why organic cotton is better than non-organic:

1. Why Organic Cotton is Better: Sustainability, always

Organic certification requires safe working conditions, no child labor, and fair wages for workers. Production must protect water supplies and treat all waste water. Chlorine bleaches and chemicals commonly used in textile processing that can cause cancer, birth defects, and other serious illnesses are not allowed.

2. Why Organic Cotton is Better: Organic saves lives

The $2 billion worth of chemicals sprayed on conventional cotton crops worldwide every year (half of which are designated toxic by the World Health Organization) includes 900+ registered synthetic pest control products. Farmers’ exposure to these chemicals causes occupational illnesses and each year, up to 77 million cotton workers suffer acute pesticide poisoning, resulting in up to 20,000 deaths. Due to chemical exposure, the average life expectancy of a non-organic cotton farmer in India is mid-30’s.

3. Why Organic Cotton is Better: Organic Cotton uses less water

A single non-organic cotton t-shirt requires on average 700 gallons of water to produce. That’s about 22 bath tubs’ worth— for one t-shirt! Organic cotton uses 91% less water to produce, thanks to healthier soil and less water pollution from run-off.

4. Why Organic Cotton is Better: Working with nature

Growing organic cotton is a holistic approach to farming that strives for a balance with nature, using methods and materials that are of low impact to the environment. This includes physically removing weeds instead of spraying chemicals, using compost to maintain soil health, introducing beneficial insects that eat pests instead of using pesticides, and rotating and planting cover crops between growing seasons to replenish soil and prevent erosion.


Organic and GMOs | Organic Trade Association
Why does choosing Organic Cotton make a difference? | Econscious
GOTS Flyers | Global Organic Textile Standard
Wear No Evil | Greta Eagan
Cottoned On briefing paper | Cottoned On
GOTS Certified Clothing | Colored Organics
Cotton and the Environment | Organic Trade Association
How to Make Clothes Less Terrible for the Planet | PBS

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