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Organic Cotton Versus Conventional Cotton

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By Steven Clifford-Ames

At Sheets on the Line, we get asked why organic...? Well our answer to that is ... why not..? 

But that is making a long story short, so below we have highlighted just some of the reasons to choose organic, but like everything, there are varying degrees of both organic and conventional standards and its best we tell you what standards we adhere too here at Sheets on the Line.

Organic : All of our organic products are GOTS (Global Organics Textile Standards). This is one of the most stringent standards that is recognised and accepted world wide as a market leader in textiles. All fields, growers and factories have to meet strict criteria and are audited and certified.

Conventional Cotton: Where we cannot source an organic product, we choose manufacturers that use "Best Practice" which includes reduced water consumption and low impact dyes. We are constantly working with our manufacturers to move towards replacing conventional cotton products with organic versions.

ORGANIC

SEED PREPERATION: Natural seeds (not genetically modified)

SOIL PREPERATION: Healthy soil through crop rotation. Retains moisture in soil from increased organic matter.

WEED CONTROL: Healthy soil creates natural balance. Beneficial insects and trap crops used.

HARVESTING: Natural defoliation from freezing temperatures or through the use of water management.

PRODUCTION: Warp fibres stabilised using double-plying or nontoxic cornstarch.

WHITENING: Safe peroxide is used.

FINISHING: Soft scour in warm water with soda ash, for a pH of 7.5 - 8.

DYEING: Low-Impact fibre-reactive or natural dyes with low metal and sulphur content.

PRINTING: Low-Impact, water based inks and or pigments with no heavy metals.

VERSUS CONVENTIONAL

SEED PREPERATION: Typically treated with fungicides and insecticides. (Possibly genetically modified)

SOIL PREPERATION: Synthetic fertilisers, loss of soil due to mono crop culture with intensive irrigation.

WEED CONTROL: Aerial spraying of insecticides and pesticides.

HARVESTING: Defoliation induced with toxic chemicals.

PRODUCTION: Warp fibres stabilised using toxic waxes.

WHITENING: Chlorine Bleaching creates toxic by-products.

FINISHING: Hot water, synthetic surfactants, additional chemicals (sometimes Formaldehyde).

DYEING: High temperature containing heavy metals and sulphur.

PRINTING: Pigments may be petroleum based and contain heavy metals.