Image via WikipediaBy Annabelle A Randles
Organic Clothing and The Environment
In order to get the organic certification organic clothing needs to comply with strict guidelines which restrict the use of chemicals, insecticides and pesticides. Chemicals used in conventional cotton and wool production can seep into the soil and ground water polluting the environment.
They also have adverse effects on biodiversity. Organic farming encourages more diverse land use providing better habitats where wildlife can strive.
- Organic Cotton is grown without the use of pesticides and insecticides that plagued conventional cotton production. Conventional cotton uses around 9% of the world's agrochemical pesticides, about 20% of the world's insecticides and 8% of the world's chemical fertilizers. Organic Cotton is also grown from non-GM seeds. Today a large proportion of conventional cotton (over 40%) is grown from GM seeds.
- Organic Wool is also produced without chemicals. Conventional wool uses pesticides and insecticides on sheep. Conventional wool is also heavily treated with many different chemicals to clean it and process it into a finish product. All those chemicals can pollute the environment.
Beyond the production of fibre, organic certification also ensures that the processing of organic clothing use eco-friendly processes and that the dyes are low-impact and do not contain heavy metals.
Organic Clothing and Your Health
As organic clothing is manufactured without the use of chemicals and pesticides it is generally better for your skin especially if you have sensitive skin or are prone to allergies, eczema or dermatitis. Organic clothing is a better choice for babies and children delicate skin.
Cottonseed is a bi-product of the cotton production which is sold to the food industry (cotton seed oil is used in many prepared food) or as animal feed. According to EJF, it is estimated that as much as 65% of cotton production ends up in our food chain, whether directly through food oil or indirectly through the milk and meat of animals.
Organic Clothing and Animal Welfare
Organic wool is wool produced from sheep that are not exposed to pesticides, insecticides and antibiotics are restricted. Organic certification also ensures that the sheep are kept in good farming and humane conditions. They are allowed to graze freely on large pastures free from chemicals.
For Merino wool, museling (removal of wool and skin near the bottoms of sheep to prevent fly-strike) is forbidden in the UK but still allowed in Australia. It is a cruel practice which hurts the animal and is forbidden under organic standards.
Annabelle Randles is the founder of By Nature an online retailer based in London, UK specialising in organic and ethical products. http://www.bynature.co.uk
By Nature Organic Clothing collection can be found at http://www.bynature.co.uk/organic-clothing/
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