This September is all about the organic. Organic September was an initiative started to highlight the many benefits of organic food and farming, including its support of biodiversity and wildlife and helping to combat climate change. Organic farming also helps to reduce exposure to pesticides and chemicals, and offers the highest standard of animal welfare. But what does the word organic actually mean?
What is Organic?
Organic is a system of farming that aims to produce sufficient quantities of high-quality crops using methods that have a variety of benefits across our whole food and crop system, for people, planet, health and wildlife. Organic farmers work against a strict set of standards which ensure that their farms maintain the health of soils, ecosystems and people. A certification is required to grow and sell organic products, and all farms are inspected at least once a year by a governing body to help accredit them with organic certification. Organic farming means fewer pesticides, no artificial fertilisers, higher animal welfare standards, no genetic modification, and no preservatives. We might see organic labels on food items, which ensures they have been grown naturally and responsibly and are therefore better for us in terms of health as they contain no nasty chemicals, but what does organic cotton mean, and what are the benefits?
What is Organic Cotton?
Organic cotton is cotton that comes from plants grown to meet the certified organic farming standards. Growing cotton in this way sustains the health of the soil, ecosystems, and people, by using natural processes rather than using anything artificial. Organic cotton farming doesn’t allow the use of toxic chemicals or GMO’s. One major benefit of organic cotton is that it is better for the environment. Reduced agricultural inputs from fertilisers, pesticides, tractors and irrigation can mean that organic cotton has a much lesser effect on global warming than regular cotton, potentially by up to 46%. Reduced energy use and emissions from fertilizer mean that it 70% less acidic to land and water than regular cotton. Due to less irrigation, organic cotton is 91% more water efficient than regular cotton, and due to savings from the production of fertilizer and less energy used, it uses 62% less energy than regular cotton. Furthermore, organic cotton ensures the use of non-GMO seeds, and no use of toxic chemicals.
As well as a positive environmental impact, organic cotton also has social and economic updates. By buying organic cotton instead of regular cotton, you are helping to promote safe work and better livelihoods for the farmers. Growing organic cotton keeps farmers and their families safe. They are not exposed to toxic chemicals in the field or through their food and water supply. It also means that farmers grow more than one crop that supplements their food and income. When you buy organic cotton you are investing in water conservation, cleaner air, better soil and farmers livelihoods. The price for organic cotton is therefore sometimes, but not always, higher. However, with demand on the rise, more choices will become available.
We offer all of our clients the option for ethically and sustainably sourced organic cotton, which we then use to create our sustainable totes, packaging and merchandise in our ethical factory in Pondicherry, South India. However, if a client cannot afford organic cotton, the cotton that we source and use instead is still grown as sustainably as possible. It is grown in well-irrigated areas such as mountainous regions where there is a lot of rainfall, which means it does not need as much water to grow it, therefore conserving the planet’s water supplies.
Our reusable face coverings are made from an organic cotton sateen, a soft, breathable, and sustainably grown fabric that is perfect for protecting both people and planet. To shop visit https://bagsofethics.org/shop/.