Organic cotton

organic cotton

Cotton is one of the most popular natural fibres used for clothing production. The many positive properties that cotton has to offer are convincing all along the line. Not only can cotton be used in many different ways, it can also be washed at high temperatures and is easy to care for.

Like hemp or linen, cotton is a natural fibre that is used in 50% of clothing production. Worldwide, more than 25 million tons of cotton are harvested every year and most of it goes into the fashion industry. But there are also differences in cotton. To recognize these, it is important to understand where it comes from and how cotton is grown.

How is cotton grown?

The natural fibre cotton originally comes from tropical areas, as cotton requires an enormous amount of water to grow. The natural fibre belongs to the mallow family just like hemp and linen.

However, the cultivation of cotton for the fashion industry was moved a long time ago from tropical areas to dry growing areas such as the USA, China or India. The reason for this is the quality of the cotton. Due to the high humidity and the long rainy season in the tropical growing areas, the quality of the cotton suffers. This is because it is precisely through this that rot forms and the buds of the cotton would become puffy and unusable.

Artificially created cotton fields are laid out in the growing countries, thereby supplying the cotton plant, which is dependent on the high water consumption, with the necessary water. The amounts of water required are enormous. 1 kg of cotton requires 11,000 litres of water in the course of its growth.

The strain on the soil caused by the one-sided use also makes the use of pesticides and fertilizers necessary, as this is the only way to keep the pests away and guarantee the quality of the cotton.

What is organic cotton?

But what is organic cotton? organic simply means controlled organic cultivation. This means that organic cotton is grown under controlled biological conditions that are much better for both people and the environment.

Any cotton bearing the organic seal is free of chemical additives and grown under environmentally conscious conditions.

How is organic cotton produced?

The cultivation of organic cotton differs in essential basic conditions from the cultivation of conventional cotton. Because here already other basic conditions for soil and environment are created, which make the chemical aids unnecessary and at the same time provide for the security of the farmers and final consumers.

Organic cotton is also grown in dry areas, but the soil is enriched with plenty of humus. This not only has the advantage that it can better supply the plants with nutrients, but the humus-rich soil also stores water much better than conventional soil. This means that water consumption can be reduced significantly, by 40%.

In addition, on the organic cotton fields a natural crop rotation takes place, so the soil remains rich in nutrients and the pest infestation is significantly reduced.

Another important criterion in organic cotton cultivation is that any chemical and toxic aids such as fertilizers or pesticides are prohibited. Only natural means are allowed. This is exactly what is controlled in order to guarantee organic cultivation and then to be able to award the organic cotton seal.

Especially in India there are more and more farmers who specialize in the cultivation of organic cotton. Nevertheless, the share of organic cotton worldwide is still less than 1%.

The differences between organic cotton and conventional cotton are considerable, the cultivation process differs enormously and also has an enormous impact on the end product.

What are the differences between cotton and organic cotton?

The differences between cotton and organic cotton are enormous.

Conventional cotton

organic cotton

- enormously high water consumption, which has to be produced artificially

- 40% less water consumption due to humus-rich soil

- One-sided cultivation of plants that erode the soil and cause a lack of nutrients. This has to be compensated by artificial, chemical fertilizers

- natural crop rotation avoids erosion and ensures a better nutrient content of the soil

- pest infestation due to soil conditions, this is controlled with the help of pesticides

- a balanced nutrient-rich soil ensures a significantly lower pest infestation

- the use of chemical and toxic additives to guarantee the quality of the cotton

- the use of chemical or toxic additives is strictly forbidden and strictly controlled.

The differences in cultivation are enormous and thus also have an effect on the end product, which is much more natural and better tolerated in the case of organic cotton.

The advantages that the cultivation of organic cotton has to offer are clearly superior to conventional cotton. This is true for the environment as well as for the people. It is not only the farmers who benefit from the cultivation of organic cotton, but also the end consumers who wear the organic cotton on their skin in the form of clothing.

What are the advantages of organic cotton for people and the environment?

As already mentioned, there are many advantages that organic cotton has to offer in contrast to conventional cotton. The advantages can be divided into different categories.

  • Social advantages
  • Lower water consumption means that only 6,000 litres of water are needed per kilo of cotton. The population around the cultivation areas benefits enormously from this. Otherwise they would suffer from the additional water consumption. This is because most of the cultivation areas are located in areas that already suffer from a lack of water.
  • Due to the natural crop rotation, the farmers can also grow other foodstuffs in addition to cotton. These are either grown for their own use or can be sold in addition.

  • Health benefits
  1. Above all, the health of the farmers and workers benefits from controlled organic farming. Even the application of toxic chemical fertilizers and pesticides can have an enormous impact on their health. As there is usually no protective clothing or other measures that can be taken, serious illnesses or deaths can even occur during application. These are avoided with organic cotton.
  2. The entire neighbouring population also benefits when no pesticides or other dangerous substances are used, because the groundwater and also the soil are not polluted.
  3. But not only the farmers, but also the end consumers who wear the clothes made from organic cotton benefit from organic cotton. If the cotton is chemically contaminated, so are the clothes that are made from it and we wear them directly on our skin. In this way, the chemical components are also absorbed.

  • Advantages for the environment
  • The load on the soil is much less, it recovers more easily and erosion is avoided.
  • There is also much less pollution from chemical toxins and pesticides in the ground water.