What is the difference between organic and traditional cotton?
There's always so many discussions about organic products, vegan products, GMOs, and an abundance of other things. So what do they really mean? Let's cover the basics specifically as it relates to understanding the difference between organic and traditional cotton!
It's really important to understand that purchasing something that comes from organic materials versus something that is conventionally grown really does make a difference! But let's talk about it.
Let's start with understanding conventional cotton.
From the beginning, traditional or conventional cotton is planted from GMO or genetically modified seeds. Typically, the genetic makeup of these seeds is modified to make them more resistant to disease and bugs. Similar to how bacteria in our bodies build resistance to antibodies, bugs and disease build resistance to these GMO.
While GMO can in some cases be effective to ward off these challenges, it can also create an increased need to use higher volumes of pesticides as the insects become more resistant. Pesticides are essentially chemicals sprayed on the crops to kill bugs.
Additionally, conventional cotton is traditional continuously grown on the same plot of land, which over time degrades the soil quality as it loses the same nutrients each season cotton is grown. Ultimately, this leads to lower quality cotton, which directly affects the look and feel of the garments you wear.
Because the soil is devoid of nutrients, it is more difficult for the water to retain water. On overage, conventional cotton requires 91% more water than organic cotton. Not to mention, the pesticides and chemicals mentioned earlier are more common in the general water supply with this amount of additional water is used.
When thinking about the labor component of traditional cotton, the farmers are continuously exposed to these toxic chemicals. Over time, these chemicals can cause health issues including cancer, reproductive complications, and neurological issues.