The designation “ organic cotton » is very trendy today and it is used all over the place. Maybe you think that’s a good thing, because organic is good? Well in theory yes, but the reality is quite different. Indeed, behind an organic cotton designation, you will find organic cotton and that’s it! But did you know that cotton isn’t white, pink, red or green? It must first be bleached and dyed. This is where we tic a little. But then, how can we be sure that our organic cotton sweater is (really) organic?
What is organic cotton?
The first thing to know is the difference between organic cotton and traditional cotton. Not so long ago, cotton growing wasn’t even an environmental concernbecause the only objective was performance.
But today, cotton farming is singled out, because it is the most catastrophic agriculture for the environment and the people who live around the fields. And for good reason, the textile industry is the second biggest polluter in the worldjust behind oil and of all these textiles, 40% contain cotton.
In order to satisfy today’s consumer society, we had to produce, produce and produce again. But you know it well, mother nature is not able to produce so much, so it had to be given a very regrettable “boost”… Indeed, conventional cotton is produced under the worst of conditions: pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, GMOs, etc. The latter destroy aquatic environments, weaken populations and require indecent water consumption.
To give you an idea, it takes 2700L of water for a traditional cotton t-shirt, compared to only 100L for an organic cotton t-shirt…
By opting for an organic cotton subsidiary, you reduce your ecological impact and above all, you no longer support the textile industries that exploit the resources of the earth and its workers. Indeed, organic farming does not use no pesticides, insecticides or herbicides. They are also GMO-free guarantees and respect the workers by offering them a fair compensation and healthy working conditions. And to limit losses, the soil is naturally rich to rid itself of its pests, but also thanks to the balance between insects and predators.
We invite you to discover more information on the evolution of the organic cotton market.
Is an organic cotton sweater necessarily organic?
This is where things get tricky. How to recognize an organic cotton sweater and a truly organic cotton sweater? We grant you, it seems a bit far-fetched, but don’t panic, we’ll explain everything to you.
As you may have read in the intro, initially the cotton is neither white, nor pink, nor blue, etc. It is light brown. In order to make it more salable, it will have to be transformed. For this transformation, two solutions: one inexpensive and profitable and another more expensive and less profitable. The first is the use of chlorine, a chemical and industrial treatment. The second is the use of hydrogen peroxide which will allow the cotton to whiten naturally.
Then, other toxic substances appear, especially in dyes. Industrial dyes contain heavy metals which are very harmful and toxic to humans. If your sweater is really organic, the dyes used will be natural and from organic farming.
What are the existing labels to recognize an organic cotton garment?
In order to be sure that our organic cotton sweater is really organic, there are several labels which are used to certify the textiles. Notably :
- The GOTS label which is the best certification for organic cotton. The latter certifies that your garment contains at least 95% organic and certified fibers from the cultivation to the production of your garment.
- The Organic Content Standard 100 (OCS100) label which is given to clothing containing between 95% and 100% organic materials. It also certifies the absence of GMOs, pesticides and toxic products from planting to sale.
These are the two safest labels to be sure that your organic cotton clothes really are.
What are the tricks to be sure that our organic cotton sweater is really organic?
In addition to the labels, you can do your own little investigation in order to know the difference between two “organic” clothes. Especially since at the moment it’s a fashionable term that’s being used haphazardly! So don’t be fooled by the pros of greenwashing and trust environmental players, such as the Fairytale Sweater collection, an ethical and ecological fashion e-shop.
Here is a final summary to help you recognize a (really) organic garment:
- Read labels carefully;
- Find trustmarks and visit the sites they recommend;
- Look for information on the web to keep you informed of a new brand, a new label or advances against conventional cotton and its setbacks.
- Check the origin of your product
- Trust specialized ethical fashion sites rather than large fashion brands
Here you know everything to choose your next XXL sweater!