Conventional Vs Organic Cotton: Which Lets You Sleep At Night?

Conventional cotton is one of the most commonly grown fibers on the planet. And, though it seems “natural”, there are a host of skeletons in its closet. While cotton comes from a plant and is therefore natural, it is far from sustainable and the way it is grown and produced is extremely questionable. 

Producers have been using the term “100% natural cotton” for decades in order to convince buyers that it is in fact eco-friendly. That, however, is far from the truth. So, let’s look at how conventional cotton is produced, its impact on us and our planet, and more importantly why choosing organic cotton can lead to a better quality product and a better quality of life. 

To compare the two, we’re looking at three key factors: Water Usage, Sustainability, and Social Impact.

CONVENTIONAL COTTON: The dirtiest crop on Earth

 

WATER USAGE

While 70% of our planet is covered in water, only 3% of that is freshwater, and a further ⅓ of that is available for us to use. Yet, it seems that conventional cotton didn’t get the memo. This thirsty crop doesn’t stop drinking, so much so, that it takes 10,000 liters of water to produce a mere kilogram of cotton! 

This is primarily due to the way conventional cotton is grown on the same soil over and over again, without involving crop rotation (growing different crops on the same land), leading to soil degradation, lower absorption, poor quality and lack of nutrient-rich soil. This results in the growth of unhealthy sprouts that require even more water to be harvested, and therefore require massive amounts of irrigation. So, conventional cotton is not only thirsty, it’s greedy too. 

 

SUSTAINABILITY

Conventional cotton is called “the dirtiest crop on Earth” for a reason. It accounts for 16% of all the world’s insecticides that seep into the groundwater, pollute it and subsequently flow into waterways frequently used by people and animals. The cost of this, you ask? Around $2 billion every year. 

What’s more, is that pests and crop killers eventually grow immune to these toxic insecticides, requiring farmers to use genetically modified seeds to counteract the destruction caused by these pests. A never-ending cycle that could easily be avoided, if you ask us. 

If that isn’t a burden enough, conventional cotton farming is notoriously hungry – for energy, that is. Each year, the global consumption of conventional cotton releases around 220 million tons of greenhouse gas, with each ton of cotton fiber producing about 1.8 tons of CO2e (Carbon dioxide equivalent). Far from sustainable, then. Wouldn’t you say?

 

SOCIAL IMPACT

By being exposed to toxic chemicals, polluted water and harsh working conditions, farmers and their families face severe health problems ranging from skin irritation and asthma to poisoning, miscarriages and cancer. 

Add to that the psychological impact conventional cotton production causes to farmers in developing countries and it’s safe to say that non-organic cotton farming has no place at Lola & Veranda. 

 

ORGANIC COTTON : The OG way to grow 

 

After looking at the doom and gloom that is conventional cotton production, we’re glad to introduce its cleaner and leaner cousin – Organic cotton.

WATER USAGE

Organic cotton is grown using crop rotation, which means that the cotton is grown on different soils regularly, thereby keeping the crops healthy, the soil absorbent and the water usage to a minimum. 

In fact, when compared with the water usage required for conventional cotton, we see that organic cotton uses up to 91% less water because 80% of its crops are rainfed, rather than irrigated. Leaner indeed!

 

SUSTAINABILITY

Unlike the false claim that is “100% natural cotton”, we at Lola & Veranda use only 100% GOTS certified organic cotton, which means that all our linens are completely free from harmful chemicals, bleaches or toxic dyes. 

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the highest set of standards in the world of textiles. It ensures that we have followed the safest and most stringent measures in the production process – from the fiber and fabric, all the way to the final product. 

Organic cotton farming bans the use of genetically modified (GMO) seeds as well. Instead, beneficial insects are introduced to combat pests and ensure the health of the crops. 

Take out the harmful pesticides used in conventional cotton production and organic cotton farming reduces water pollution by up to 98%, uses 62% less energy and produces 46% less greenhouse gas. That’s the award for “cleaner” in the bag!

 

SOCIAL IMPACT 

Since organic cotton is grown through crop rotation, farmers can grow various other crops beside it, giving them additional sources of income and promoting biodiversity. 

The lack of the use of toxic pesticides and insecticides decreases the risk of illnesses related to poisoning and inhalation as well as saves farmers from the burden of buying them in the first place. 

So, there you have it. Organic cotton trumps conventional cotton in every way – being better for the people and the planet. And even though less than 1% of the world’s cotton is organic, we’re proud to say that Lola & Veranda will always keep it clean. But there’s still one more question that needs to be answered…

 

HOW DOES ORGANIC COTTON FEEL?

Organic cotton is harvested almost completely by hand. This ensures that the fibers remain undamaged and retain their purity. On the other hand, conventional cotton is harvested by machines to save time and meet high demand. This process makes the fibers less durable and rougher than the eco-friendly organic cotton. 

Think of it like comparing a home-cooked meal prepared with love to ordering take-out from your local fast food restaurant chain. It’s not even a competition, right? 

 

So if you’re looking for linens that are softer, cleaner, safer and more durable, look to Lola & Veranda’s 7-piece Livable Bundles made with 100% GOTS certified organic cotton. 

Love,

Lola XOXO

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