So, what is organic cotton? Organic cotton is cotton plant that has been grown using no pesticides, insecticides, or any chemical fertilisers. That’s it. That’s organic cotton. However, for the end product to be truly organic and meet the GOTS standard, the whole process must also be organic. So, the washing process, dying process, printing process, all of those steps are organic too.
So, no chemicals are used at all to produce one of Doodle Bag’s organic cotton bags. If any of those steps used man-made chemicals or non-organic processes, then the bag could not be called organic, even if the cotton itself was grown organically.
Yes, organic cotton, is better for water, in a few ways. One, because organic cotton consumes less water while it is growing, and is often just water through rainfall, meaning that water doesn’t have to be extracted for watering cotton crops. And two, the fertilisers used in cultivating non-organic cotton will become absorbed into the ground and into water systems, polluting water streams of countries where cotton is grown.
Yes you read that right, organic cotton is vegan cotton. Because no pesticides or insecticides are used in growing the cotton, so no little creatures are harmed in the growing process, and the later effects of toxic residue in the soil and water systems does not harm animals. All fertilisers are plant based, and are solely designed to help cotton grow, not to damage anything else. So vegan cotton, and organic cotton, win win!
Under the GOTS code of ethics, which are required for a company or supplier to gain the certification certain criteria must be complied with, such as: prohibition of child labour, forced labour, and abuse; proper wages; limited working hours; and health and safety guidelines. By having this level of protection for workers, GOTS organic cotton products are both socially and environmentally ethical.
Organic cotton is beneficial for the whole supply chain! Because truly organic cotton products have a completely organic supply chain. This means that there are no synthetic or harsh chemicals used from crop to completion of the organic cotton product. This benefits the environment, and also the people involved in manufacturing your cotton bag!
By using too many chemicals, too frequently (growing non-organic cotton), soil can become permanently damaged. This is due to the high levels of salt in fertilisers not being properly absorbed into the ground, these high salt levels overtime alter the chemistry of the soil, and it becomes irreversible, so the soil cannot continue to be used for growing cotton, and species, bacteria and other microorganisms that once lived there will find the soil inhabitable. By leaving the soil, to just do its thing naturally all these long-term issues can be avoided.
Organic cotton is better for the people involved in the process, both physically and financially. Physically, there are no toxic chemicals in the process, so, farmers, processors, and manufacturers will not be negatively impacted by the presence of harsh chemicals. Financially, because organic cultivation lends itself to crop rotation, allowing farmers to diversify their crop output year on year. By rotating crops, the soil has the opportunity to replenish its nutrients, meaning it is cheaper to maintain a good soil for growing organic cotton.
To summarise, Organic cotton and organic products in general are a better deal for the environment and the individuals involved in production but care must be taken that you are purchasing items with the best certifications. The number of organic certifications is vast, and it can be a minefield understanding what they all mean. We put together a guide on the most common organic certifications that are out there.