Organic cotton vs conventional cotton
Date Posted:7 July 2021
You will often hear me talk about organic cotton or GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified organic cotton, and the use of it in my products.
But my ‘why’ is possibly something I speak about less often, and I figured it’s about time I fixed that! As a visual person, the look and feel of our products speaks for itself but there are so many factors beyond the visual that to me, make our organic cotton products worth every cent.
There is good reason cotton as a fabric is so hugely popular - it is breathable, absorbent and longer lasting than some other synthetic fabrics. But, not all cotton is produced with a conscience, and the true value of organic cotton is more than just in it’s good looks.
For example, did you know that regular cotton is typically grown using genetically modified seeds and with the use of pesticides, insecticides and synthetic fertilisers? Even putting aside the awful cost to the planet with this practice, knowing potentially toxic chemicals have been used in the making of that cotton doesn’t make me want to take that risk with our products and your wee ones!
Yes organic cotton ‘costs’ more, but what value do you put on ensuring no nasties come into contact with young skin, especially when it comes at a cost to the planet too?
As well as not using toxic chemicals in the growth of the cotton, for organic cotton to be GOTS certified, the supply chain must adhere to regulations that include the use of non-toxic or natural dyes only, have dedicated environmental waste solutions that make sure water is recycled and working conditions and pay are fair. This is all obviously more expensive but the benefit to our skin (and the planet) is clear.
By purchasing GOTS certified organic cotton, I know exactly what I am buying on your behalf and that it has been responsibly and ethically produced from seed to fabric. That unfortunately can’t be said for regular cotton, because to the best of my knowledge there is no certification process to ensure safe practice.
Weeds and insects are of course still an issue with the growth of organic cotton. Being a bit of a fabric (and gardening) nerd, I was super interested to find out that instead of insecticides or pesticides organic cotton farmers use ‘beneficial insects’ to keep away harmful insects, as well as other natural deterrents. Clever right? And, organic cotton is typically hand picked rather than the use of a machines to avoid waste and fumes from machinery. Pickers and workers are paid a living wage and have fair working conditions.
Farms that produce organic cotton let their land rest, rotate crops and use compost to keep the soil rich and healthy, (rather than using synthetic fertilizers) this natural approach then requires less irrigation as the soil is healthy and retains more water.
I mentioned in my previous blog that I consider the factories we use, to be part of the Burrow and Be family. I’ve visited most of them (pre-COVID of course) and I know the good conditions they work in, and by purchasing GOTS certified organic cotton I can trust that the people producing the fabric are treated just as well as the people crafting that fabric into the Burrow and Be products we all know and love.
All of the above means organic cotton is around 25-40% more expensive to produce than conventional cotton. But, the cost to our planet with the use of toxic chemicals is immense, and I think the farming and manufacturing practices for conventional cotton are un-ethical at best and irresponsible at worst.
We believe it is possible to create beautiful baby and kids clothing, bedding and accessories that do as little harm as possible to the planet in their production, and our choice to use organic cotton reflects this belief. We also believe that our customers share in this with us, and understand that while there might be a slightly higher cost to the items you are purchasing, you see the significant value this extra cost brings too.