By Audrey Stanton
You may know by now that cotton is not good for people or the planet. There are a lot of toxic chemicals used in growing conventional cotton, as well as a lot of water waste. Sustainable fashion brands started using organic cotton as an alternative and the fabric is now very popular. One of the biggest sustainable fashion brands using it is People Tree. However, a debate over whether or not this is actually more sustainable comes up constantly in sustainable fashion communities nowadays. So, is organic cotton really a better option?
Pros of organic cotton
- Less synthetic chemicals used in organic cotton production means better soil health from the lack of toxic pesticides and fertilizers.
- Since its growing usually does not include harmful chemicals, less toxic runoff, air pollution, and overall greenhouse gas emissions occur.
- It often creates less of an impact on wildlife, ecosystems, and the health of individuals that work in the cotton industry.
- Growing organic cotton usually means better and fairer working conditions for laborers.
- A softer fabric is often a great benefit of the fiber.
- Water consumption for organic cotton is 182 liters/kg lint, which is significantly less than that of conventional cotton at 2,120 liters/ kg lint.
● The price is initially cheaper. Long-term impact on the environment: devastating.
● It produces lower yields, meaning more land must be used.
● Organic might need more labor and time-intensive job. (Pro for the economy!)
● Some natural pesticides bring just as much harm as synthetic products.
● Although certain standards for the manufacturing of organic clothing hold producers accountable, not every country has laws in place.
It seems that organic cotton is definitely not perfect. However, the alternative (conventional cotton) still poses a threat to the people and the planet. Organic cotton remains a step in the right direction, though not the end of the sustainable fashion story.
What do you think?