Now you may be thinking, “organic cotton ... really?” We know. Somewhere on the way to Whole Foods, between helicopter moms and hefty price-tags, “organic” lost its cool. But the fact of that matter is that organic cotton is better for your body, the environment and all the people who produce the fiber itself.
Even down to the seed, growing organic cotton is much nicer to the planet. While conventional cotton uses genetically modified seeds as well as tons of pesticides and herbicides, organic cotton is free from such chemicals. In fact, organic cotton is grown with non-GMO seeds, without pesticides, and uses only natural fertilizers such as compost or manure to enhance the soil.
The chemicals and pesticides associated with conventional cotton agriculture are avid polluters of existing soil and waterways, as more and more pesticides are needed to combat resistance to constant treatment. These chemicals eventually wash into local drinking water, affecting the health of local communities. Conversely, certified organic cotton is safe for soil, plant, animal, and human interactions, and unlike conventional cotton, actually creates more biodiversity to promote soil health. In turn, no chemical fertilizers are needed - and because the plant uses natural resources such as rainwater more efficiently, water is actually conserved.
Chemicals truly are at the root of the problem when it comes to the difference between conventional and certified organic cotton. Even after a garment’s life, conventional cotton can leach those harmful and toxic chemicals into the earth as it degrades over time, whereas certified organic cotton is biodegradable, and can actually create regenerative nutrients.
Last but certainly not least is the difference in labor practices. In the world of conventional cotton, combines are used to machine-pick bolls in bulk - which creates a massive carbon footprint. Certified organic cotton is hand-picked, creating more jobs for surrounding communities, and lessening the toll on the environment.