Organic cotton: The clean little sister of the most popular natural fiber

What are the general properties of organic cotton?

  • Particularly durable / hard-wearing
  • Tear and abrasion-resistant
  • Very absorbent (can absorb up to 65 percent of its own weight in water)
  • Dries slowly
  • Skin-friendly, does not scratch, soft to the touch
  • Low allergy potential
  • Permeable to air, not heat-insulating
  • Insensitive to sweat and Lyes
  • Are more tear-resistant when damp or wet than when dry

How sustainable is organic cotton?

  • Very hard-wearing and long-lasting
  • Biodegradable, as mostly made of cellulose
  • No use of pesticides and mineral oil fertilizers
  • Extremely high water consumption (1 kg cotton = 11,000 l water consumption)
  • Does not grow regionally

Why is organic cotton useful?

Most natural textiles today are made from cotton. Cotton is currently the most frequently processed natural fiber in the textile industry. Its great popularity is due to its softness and skin-friendliness, the associated low allergy potential, and the versatility of the fiber itself.

From an ecological point of view, cotton is a sensible raw material, as it mainly consists of 100% biodegradable cellulose and therefore there is no waste problem for example with synthetic synthetic fibers. In addition, the fiber is characterized by its extraordinary durability, which significantly extends the service life of cotton clothing compared to other textiles.

At glore, all cotton products from controlled organic cotton cultivation are without genetic engineering. This raw material is particularly sustainable because it avoids a number of serious environmental impacts associated with the cultivation of conventional cotton:

The cotton plant grows very slowly and therefore for a long time. In order to achieve a high yield, the cotton fields are often re-tilled immediately after the harvest, which is problematic because the soil used cannot recover. This results in monocultures that are more susceptible to any kind of pest and weed infestation and require heavy fertilization. This is combated, on the one hand, with the massive use of pesticides, currently, almost a quarter of the synthetic pesticides applied worldwide are in cotton agriculture, although it only accounts for a fraction, 2.4 – 2.5%, of the global arable land. On the other hand, overuse is compensated by strong fertilization of the soil.

How is organic cotton made?

In the case of organic cultivation, on the other hand, crop rotation is taken into account – different types of plants are grown alternately on the agricultural land. It is therefore accepted that the respective areas can not generate any income at all depending on the season. However, this also ensures the preservation of the natural soil fertility and also prevents pests from multiplying excessively in the monocultures. In addition, only natural enemies such as plants are used against possible pests in organic farming or the farmers limit themselves to the manual removal of weeds and vermin. Finally, fertilization is carried out by applying humus or liquid manure8 to the fields.

In conventional agriculture, when harvesting the ripe cotton boll, another chemical is usually applied to the fields in order to save time: highly toxic defoliants are sprayed on the plants so that mechanical harvesting can be made easier. This also harbors health risks for the cotton farmers and harvest workers. Organic cotton, on the other hand, is mostly picked by hand, which means that defoliation is not required, as the skilled pickers can of course easily distinguish between ripe and unripe capsules or leaves from capsules. This takes longer but is gentler on people and the environment.

A major shortcoming of cotton is its extremely high water consumption in the growth phase. The production of 1 kg of cotton requires around 11,000 liters of water. This need can be reduced by up to 40% through improved technology (drip or furrow irrigation) and training of farmers8, but water consumption still remains comparatively high.

Another problem is the fact that cotton, whether organic or not, cannot be grown regionally. Currently, the most important producers are China, India, the USA, and Pakistan. In any case, the cotton must be transported to Europe either before or after further processing, which always results in CO2 emissions.

Dyes, oils for knitting and weaving processes, and other auxiliary materials must meet basic requirements with regard to their toxicity and biodegradability. Furthermore, only oxygen bleach and no chlorine bleach are permitted. Furthermore, all wastewater must be filtered or otherwise treated to ensure that there is no risk of pollution or poisoning for the environment and water in the vicinity of the production facilities. Not only with regard to wastewater, but generally all production waste, the certified production facilities must be able to present and of course implement strategies that include minimizing waste and adequate disposal.

Accessories on organic cotton clothing, such as buttons or appliqués, must under no circumstances contain PVC; from 2014, all polyester components must be made from recycled old plastic. The same applies to the packaging materials for cotton products, here too PVC is completely forbidden and since 2014 price tags and packaging material made of cardboard and paper must come from recycled sources.

How do you properly care for organic cotton?

Wash:

Outerwear at 30 ° C, underwear at 60 ° C

No special detergent is required, we recommend detergents without optical brighteners and stain removers

Important: colors separate when washing!

Drying:

Organic cotton has no chemical care properties, so it is not shrink-proof and therefore unsuitable for

drying. It is best to pull it into shape after washing and dry it flat.

Ironing:

Can be ironed at up to 200 ° C, but ironing is better but slightly damp at lower temperatures

Stain treatment:

Check colorfastness on the inside!

Do not use gasoline, but gall soap or panamarind extract cleaner. Rub the

stain with it and then wash the whole piece

Pima cotton

Pima cotton is a special type of cotton: it is 50% longer than normal cotton fibers and grows in northern Peru. In addition, Pima cotton is softer and finer than other types of cotton, making it very comfortable to wear.

Recycled cotton

Recycled cotton is obtained from post-consumer rubbish, waste, and excess fibers or excess yarn during yarn production. Most of the time, spinning waste is still used today, and garment-to-garment recycling is technologically still in its infancy.

All textile surfaces to be recycled are first shredded and in the next step, the cotton fibers are pulled from the resulting shreds. These are then carded several times, which means that the loose textile fibers are first aligned to form a pile or fleece. The fleece is then processed into a new yarn using the open-end spinning process.

This process is particularly sustainable as there is no need to re-dye due to the fact that the fibers have already been dyed before recycling. In addition, of course, there are no problems associated with normal cotton cultivation, such as water consumption and CO2 emissions.

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