Why Organic Cotton is Important?

cotton plant, photo from  Ecouterre

cotton plant, photo from Ecouterre

In an effort to become sustainable and be eco friendly I have started buying organic cotton and producing organic cotton napkins. I recently took a sustainable fashion class at FIT in NYC and one question was trying to make everything organic but that’s impossible from a business point for my size company. The instructor, Kate Black, who has an awesome podcast, book and website called Magnifeco, said every little bit we do helps. The things I learned in this class. OMG as they say. For one the garment industry is the second biggest polluter of fresh water resources. To read more check out this article in Forbes by James Conca. Turning the cotton plant into cotton to be used takes many steps of cleaning to processing to the fabric you see on the shelves.

If cotton is organic this uses less water, no fertilizer and no pesticides. The garment industry uses 50% of the cotton grown. Traditional cotton grown is responsible for 25% of all chemical pesticides in the agriculture industry (birchorganics.com) In 2003, 55 million pounds of pesticides were sprayed on 12.8 million acres of cotton, according to the Organic Trade Association. These pesticides affect the health of the farmers, the farm workers, they run into the water affecting the water supply and cottonseeds can hold onto the pesticides. Cottonseeds that can be found in baked goods, cookies and salad dressings.

birchorganic cotton swatch

Against the skin? it’s softer. Traditional cotton can have formaldehyde in it also shortening the life of the fabric. Organic lasts longer!

I won’t be able to go completely organic but I will do what I can. So this past season I was able to purchase a few bolts of organic cotton from a company called Birch Organics. A small, very lovely company. I first learned about them while I worked at Purl Soho. Fabric is organic, dyes are low impact and work conditions are fair wage labor. This is all certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

mix and match organic napkins  $40 for a set of 4

I have to say I am quite pleased with the fabric and working with Birch Organics. Knowing that part of my inventory is being responsible and working with a company who is conscious and trying to make a difference makes me feel better.

Thanks for reading.