Organic vs Non-Organic Fabrics: What You Can Do

Continuing the discussion on bamboo fabric:

What You Can Do. Make sure you know where the brand sources its fabric and if the manufacturer uses chemical processing to make the fabric (REI, for example, makes sure to not label chemically processed bamboo products as eco-friendly). Keep in mind that the more earth-friendly mechanical processing (extracting fibers manually from crushed bamboo treated with biological enzymes) is also more expensive, but worth it

 Organic Cotton
Eco-Friendly: To even be called organic cotton, the crops must be grown using eco-conscious methods,  meaning no toxic pesticides or fertilizers. Farming practices must also cultivate and enrich the land it’s grown on (which must be chemical-free for three years before the cotton can even be planted on it). Since regular cotton uses a shocking amount of chemical pesticides and fertilizer — a third of a pound for just one nonorganic cotton t-shirt — making the switch is a sound way to help the environment.

Eco-Enemy? Some reports have said that the process of transitioning a regular cotton farm land to organic uses a lot more water than traditional cotton farming. Additionally, the labeling for organic cotton goods can confuse consumers into not knowing if they are getting an all-organic shirt or not. Since countries like India and China produce far more organic cotton than the US, goods will likely have been shipped thousands of miles to reach you.

What You Can Do. Know your labels: while “100 percent” means that even the threads are organic, a shirt labeled “organic” or “made with organic cotton” is not completely organic. Also, if you’re looking for organic cotton fitness wear, try to find a local brand to reduce your clothing’s carbon footprint.


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