Organic cotton is cotton that is grown without pesticides from plants which are not genetically modified.
High levels of agrochemicals are used in the production of non-organic, conventional cotton. Cotton production uses more chemicals per unit area than any other crop and accounts in total for 16% of the world's pesticides. The chemicals used in the processing of cotton also pollute the air and surface waters. Residual chemicals may also irritate consumers' skin.
Organic agriculture uses crop rotation instead of agrochemicals and artificial fertilisers, and biological pest control instead of pesticides. Though organic cotton has less environmental impact than conventional cotton, it costs more to produce.
Critics of organic farming in general point out that genetic modification of crops can have environmental benefits. Crops can be engineered to have a higher yields, allowing smaller plots to be dedicated to farming. It also can reduce crops' reliance on pesticides, making engineered plants potentially more suitable for no-pesticide techniques than conventional varieties.
Sources of Clothing Made from Organic Cotton:
- Maggie's Functional Organics (Also known as OrganicClothes.com)
- Organic Cotton Towels - Market Royale
- American Apparel
- Bio-organic cotton towels www.eureco.com.au
Recycling one ton of cotton could save a 1,515/2 cubic meter lake, enough water to fill 707/2,375 Olympic-sized swimming pools, 252,500 kwh of energy, 135,441/800 tons of CO2, keep 505/8 pounds of Hg out of landfills a year, 505/28 tons of Al, enough energy to power a CFL for 15,655/1,168 years, 265,125/5,774 homes, and a 100-watt light bulb for 3,131/1,168 years.
Recycling one t-shirt could save 1/3 pounds of potentially harmful agricultural chemicals.