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Organic cotton - soft and ecological

It is not without reason that cotton is very popular as a textile. It is kind to the skin, hard-wearing, breathable, tear-resistant, absorbent, washable and soft. However, conventional cotton cultivation has serious consequences for our environment in many respects. All the more important that we take a closer look at the gentle alternative of organic cotton and highlight its advantages.

From conventional cotton to organic cotton

The origins of cotton can be traced back to the Maya and Inca in what are now Mexico and Peru. But the inhabitants of India and Pakistan also recognised the advantages of the bushy plant. Nevertheless, cotton did not play a major role in the western world until 250 years ago. The production process was too time-consuming and therefore too expensive. The breakthrough only came at the time of industrialisation. During this time, it became possible to process cotton mechanically and thus lucratively. This is how cotton got the nickname "white gold". At that time, the harmful consequences of the ill-considered cultivation of monocultures remained unnoticed. In this respect, organic cotton has changed a lot.

What does organic cotton mean?

Cotton grows on large plantations in tropical and subtropical areas. The cotton fibre is obtained from the seed hairs, which are processed into cotton threads. Our clothes, for example, are made from them. Conventional cultivation not only requires a lot of water, but also uses abundant pesticides. More than ten percent of all pesticides used worldwide are used in cotton cultivation. With organic cotton, farmers do not use pesticides at all. This means that groundwater and soil are spared. Moreover, the workers do not come into contact with the toxic substances. Despite all this, the cotton plant needs a lot of water, which is why organic cotton relies on special water management. Farmers learn how to irrigate their fields sustainably. Organic farming also prohibits them from planting genetically modified crops. Most farmers are usually smallholders and come from India and China, where conditions are optimal for organic cultivation. Unfortunately, a major shift towards organic cotton is not yet noticeable in the global market. The market share of organic cotton is currently just under one percent - but the trend is rising.

The advantages of organic cotton at a glance

  • No chemical pesticides
  • No genetically modified plants
  • No monocultures
  • Produces seeds to pollinate the plants themselves
  • Soil remains fertile
  • No danger to workers
  • Less water consumption

Organic cotton in the textile industry

Organic cotton has now also arrived in the textile industry as an alternative natural textile. The growing season of organic cotton is nine months. The cotton is harvested by hand. A conventional T-shirt requires 300 grams of cotton fibres. That is roughly equivalent to one kilo of raw cotton. In the meantime, this renewable raw material has become especially popular for children's clothing. In addition, many large fashion houses advertise eco-collections. A step in the right direction, but there is still room for improvement. Just because cotton is certified organic does not mean that further processing after harvesting is carried out under ecological conditions. Chemical dyeing, exploitation along the supply chains, processing into blended fabrics - some production processes are still anything but sustainable and ecological. This is precisely why it is worth taking a critical look.

Organic cotton as a practical helper

It is not only our clothes that are largely made of cotton, but also an integral part of other areas of everyday life. Cosmetics, bandages, hygiene products, camping tents, coffee filters and even our money make use of the properties of the natural fibre. Unfortunately, organic cotton is still the exception, but positive models are emerging. Slowly, for example, fruit and vegetable nets are finding their way into our everyday lives. Instead of reaching for thin plastic bags to pack apples, many people now choose reusable nets or bags. These are also available in organic cotton. The bags are also suitable for many other products because they are washable. Pure organic cotton is also completely recyclable

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