Can cotton ever be environmentally friendly and at what cost?

SP34_2Your beautiful cotton shirt or luxurious cotton curtains may hide an environmental time bomb.

Vast amounts of pesticides are used to grow cotton. By weight, it has had more pesticides used in its production than just about any other crop on the planet. To make matters worse, many of the chemicals used in production, such as cyanide, are cancer causing. A sobering fact is that cotton represents approximately 3% of the world’s crop production yet uses 25% of all pesticides.

Truly organic cotton is free from all chemical treatments. It further benefits from having no further treatment after harvesting. Usually there are no further bleaching processes or additional insect repellents (for example to counter moths). Where bleach has to be used, hydrogen peroxide (whilst sounding awful), is actually the most environmentally friendly bleaching option.

Maybe you don’t feel so good about your curtains now. Sorry! But seriously how much more would you be willing to pay in the future for organic cotton?

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