13 Apr 2015

Why is Organic Cotton so Important?

At Wildly Woolly, we're raving about our products being Organic Cotton, we love it and all our products are made from it. But then we thought, hang on, not everyone knows about it's benefits, and some of you are probably thinking - 'Sounds good, but I don't really have any idea WHY that's good and why I should be choosing it?'

 So let's see Regular-cotton (non-organic) vs Organic-cotton. We want to explain to you why Organic cotton is good, but also why non-organic cotton is bad.

Down with the non-organic cotton:

Why is regular or non-organic cotton so bad for us?
  • 2.5% of the world's farmland is taken up by cotton. 
  • BUT it uses 10-16% of the world's Pesticides (including Insecticides, Herbicides and Defoliants).
  • During processing, regular cotton uses more chemicals per unit area than any other crop. Chlorine bleach is used to whiten the cotton, heavy metal dyes colour the fibre, and some even use formaldehyde resins which are the often the hidden hazards used to treat cotton to make it 'easy care' material.

What's wrong with that? Well those Pesticides don't just kill off anything that might affect the cotton growth, they can be toxic to the farmers or pickers if this is still done manually.  They can have a negative impact on the local ecosystems and biodiversity as they don't just kill off the pests, but everything around it. If sprayed from the air as many are, the pesticides can drift into surrounding villages affecting the population living nearby, as well as forming a toxic run-off that contaminates the groundwater. So the toxins aren't just confined to that area and those plants.

Still thinking this doesn't affect you directly? Well here goes - some of the chemicals from the pesticides are absorbed by the plant, so a lot of the toxins are retained by the Regular cotton. Residual chemicals can irritate the skin, especially those with sensitive skin and allergies. Not only that, most of the pesticides used on cotton fields have been considered by Environmental Protection Agencies as 'likely' to be carcinogenic.


Benefits of Organic cotton:  

At Wildly Woolly we're all about the Organic cotton, and here are some facts to backup why we love it:
  • A field must be pesticide free for 3 years before the cotton grown on it can be classed as Organic.
  • Seeds for crops are not GM (Genetically Modified which they often are in regular cotton).
  • No use of toxic chemical pesticides, only natural composts, and the prevention of pests is done by encouraging their natural predators and preserving the natural eco-systems.
  • Crop rotation and mixed crop planting is used to prevent the exhaustion of the soil and the need for unnatural additives.
  • The Eco-friendly processing also helps as dyes are environmentally friendly, but also free of Chlorine bleach. Which means no harmful toxins left in the cotton that touches our skin.

I may be preaching to the converted with some of you, but it's always interesting to read about these things I think, even if we feel we know it already. If you didn't know and just thought this was the latest fashion to choose Organic cotton, hopefully we've made you see why choosing Organic cotton is actually important, no just for you, but also for the environment and our planet!