Here at Linenly, we believe bamboo is great for not only our health and comfort, but also the environment. Often bamboo is compared to organic cotton. Organic cotton is cotton which is grown organically, free of synthetic chemicals. However, what we don’t understand is although a product is made from an organic source, it is not always better. In this post, we talk about the impact organic cotton has on our environment and other factors. Keep reading to find out more!
Goes against sustainability objectives
One goal of sustainable development is environmental protection. This relates to protecting our environment and using resources in the most beneficial way. The production of organic cotton uses a much greater amount of land and water in comparison to conventional cotton and other materials.
Organic cotton has a lower yield than conventional cotton. This means more land and plants are required to harvest enough fibre required for consumer consumption. The land space used for production of organic cotton could be used to harvest much more important sources such as fruit and vegetables.
One t-shirt made from conventional cotton uses up to 1,098 litres of water reported by Cotton Inc. However, a t-shirt made from organic cotton uses double the amount with a total of 2,500 litres of water. Yes, you read that correctly. But it gets worse. A pair of organic jeans uses a total of 10,000 litres of water. Millions of people around the world don’t have access to clean drinking water, yet 10,000 litres of water is used to create just one pair of jeans. The amount of water used for organic cotton can be used for much greater problems worldwide.
Natural pesticides are just as harmful as synthetic pesticides
Organic cotton does not use any harmful fertilizers or chemical pesticides when grown. However, natural pesticides are used as a replacement. You may be thinking, what is the problem with that?
What you don’t know is that these natural pesticides are still harmful for our environment and farm workers. An example of a natural pesticide used for organic cotton farming is rotenone. A study conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences found rotenone is associated with the development of Parkinson’s disease in farm workers. Not only are farm workers affected by this natural pesticide, but there is a high chance residue can be found in other products due to transfer after heavy rainfall. This may be affecting more people than we know.
Organic ends at harvest
When you think of organic cotton, you assume it is 100% organic and safe?
Well, that is not the case. Often the organic aspect ends at the harvest stage, once it is grown without the use of synthetic chemicals and pesticides. Once harvested, the next stage of production is cleaning. To clean both organic and conventional cotton, chemicals are used to bleach, scour and desize cotton. The next steps require dyeing and finishing the product, the most chemically intensive steps. Although organic cotton is harvested organically, it is almost impossible to know whether the stages that follow are organic
Need more labor and time intensive job
As mentioned, a high amount of plants and land is required for the production of organic cotton. This means a large amount of workers are required to keep up with consumer needs of products made from organic cotton. Organic cotton is grown in countries such as China, India, Turkey and other developing countries. Not only are some of these countries facing water stress, but often farmers are working extremely long hours and yet do not earn enough to stay afloat. Farm workers continue to work in every type of condition including extreme heat.
Due to such working conditions, suicide rates among cotton farmers continue to increase. India is one of the largest cotton exporters, where one farmer every 30 minutes commits suicide. That is a total of 48 farmer per day that commit suicide. This demonstrates that although organic cotton is labelled as ‘organic’, the methods and process used to create the product is unethical.
Here at Linenly, we understand the importance of not only the product itself, but the process and impact a product has. Our bamboo sheets, quilt covers, pillowcases and fitted sheets are made from 100% bamboo. We value the environment and the health and safety of others when producing our products. View our range of products that are great for our environment and your sleep!