On the surface it makes no sense to buy organic cotton. Organic cotton clothes and homeware is more expensive and you don’t have the style choice. It is undoubtedly used as a marketing tool, and is currently a luxury for those who can afford it. Plus recently there have been reports that your organic cotton T Shirt, may have used up more of the earth’s natural resources than its conventional cotton counterpart.
Those of you who know me well, know I am a fashion lover. I worked for over ten years in the fast fashion industry as a buyer and I have a love of style, trends and am guilty of always wanting the newest item. Yet despite all this, over the past year I have opted, where possible, to buy organic cotton.
So I’d like to try and explain to you why I think buying organic cotton is usually the better option.
It is better for the people growing it.
Personally I believe we have a responsibility to our fellow humans, no matter what race, nationality or religion. Sadly, up to 77 million cotton workers suffer poisoning and skin reactions to pesticides every single year. If the harmful chemicals are removed from the process, it makes the working environment safer all involved.
Organic Cotton Creates Less Pollution
Organic cotton production is 98% less polluting than normal production. This is vital as cotton is grown in countries where clean water is scarce. Just remember, it takes 2720 litres of water to make ONE T Shirt, which is the amount we drink in a 3 year period. Please reread that sentence, to really take it in. I know it is shocking.
It takes 2720** litres of water to make one T Shirt, which is the amount we drink in a 3 year period.
Farmers growing organic cotton are able to rotate their crops, so the soil is much healthier in organic cotton production, which leads to higher yields. This is essential in regions where there is a shortage of food. Plus the farmers aren’t reliant on one crop for their income.
Say Goodbye To Multinationals
An unbelievable 95% of cotton seed farming in India is controlled by one GM company. These farmers are then completely dependent, on this company, for their livelihoods. If they can avoid pesticides, this reduces their production costs and debts. According to the Soil Association, the burden of pesticide debt has resulted in thousands of suicides in the developing world.
Save Our Planet
We only have one earth, and I think it’s our job to look after it. In short, organic farming helps to lock CO2 into the soil, so mitigating climate change. Big tick.
It’s Better For Us
The reality is thousands of toxic chemicals are used in the production of non organic cotton, many which are classified as hazardous by the World Health Organisation. We don’t actually know what long-term impact this will have on our health. As a mum, I naturally want to try and give my children the best in life and it has really made me think about what fabrics I want to put next to their skin. But also, as a society we’re not renowned for making the wisest choices when it comes to fashion. A love of red and white make up in the 18th century resulted in a high incidence of lead poisoning. Ok, I appreciate that that is an extreme example but I think you get my point.
Buy Better, Buy Less
But whether you choose to buy organic cotton or not, what really needs to change, is our rapid consumption of clothing that leads to mass landfill. Which is why I say it is usually the better option to buy organic cotton. To my mind it always makes sense to use pre-loved clothing and homeware where possible. I also say usually, because in the past year I have bought essentials where I’ve not been able to find a suitable organic cotton version. However, when buying something new, surely the best ethos is to buy better quality clothes that you love, buy less of them and to wear them more.
If you’d like to learn more about building a sustainable wardrobe (without spending a penny!) then please click here