Conventional cotton goes through the most intensive crop spraying process, and you can find it just about anywhere— maybe it’s even possible you are skirting in cotton as we speak?
The cotton industry has a negative impact on our environment and is an agonizing social-economic constraint. It is commonly referred to as the world's dirtiest crop due to its high water requirements, financial burdens on the farmers, harmful health consequences of agrochemicals, and extensive pesticide abuse.
Speaking of pesticides, the impacts of pesticides are leaving regions across the world at undue risk— Malwa district in Punjab, India, consuming 75% of the state’s pesticides, is dubbed as "India's cancer capital” owing to the substantial number of cancer cases. Further, pesticide abuse has been attributed to a spike in cognitive impairment and reproductive abnormalities in Malwa. Pesticide pollution also threatens 64% of the world's arable land and is predicted to rise even more by 2030.
That being said, we’re all aware that cotton is a natural fiber. Purchasing cotton products appears to be a sound, ethical investment— better for the health and the planet. A win-win situation? Not quite.
The influx of what the world knows as conventional cotton includes predatory agricultural practices that impact the planet, putting the global biodiversity in danger. So, yes, your dollars may or may not account for the greater good depending on how that cotton was cultivated and subsequently turned into a market-ready item.
Our blog today will first look at the ramifications of conventional cotton, then unpack the benefits of choosing pesticide-free organic cotton.The Challenges Of Conventional Cotton
Conventional cotton exemplifies the harshest results of chemical-dependent farming— utilizing about $2.6 billion worth of pesticides each year, and accounts for over 10% of global pesticides and nearly 25% of global insecticides consumption. It uses fatal pesticides which are considered as among the most dangerous, inflicting side effects such as weakened immunity, skin problems, debilitated memory, and chronic depression.
Image source: The Deadly Chemicals in Cotton (EJF)
Harmful Effects Of Conventional Cotton Pesticides
- Chemicals That Contaminate Clothes - Cotton has the highest use of chemical pesticides of any crop, accounting for 16% of the world's cotton fields. And, cotton is utilized for producing 60% of clothing we wear.
- Capable Of Taking Human Lives - Cotton uses a pesticide called aldicarb (refer to the image above) which can take a life of an adult with a single drop if absorbed through the skin.
- 8,000 Hidden Chemical Substances- Textile industries uses over 8,000 synthetic chemicals to process raw materials into market-ready goods. These chemicals not only threaten the lives of the workers that operate with no safety precautions but also wash their way to freshwater bodies.
- Child Labour- Globally, 160 million children are victims of child labor with around 100 million of them engaged in the apparel and footwear supply chain. The practice of child labor, sweatshops, and slavery are common in the conventional cotton industry, justifying the term dirtiest crop in the world in both social and environmental sense.
Standing Behind The Change - Organic Cotton
There are numerous advantages to using organic cotton!
By now, you must have heard how producing one conventional cotton t-shirt drains 2700 liters of water, which is equivalent to almost two and a half years of drinking water. Given that organic cotton reduces water usage by 91% percent, one ethical cotton t-shirt calls for just 243 liters of water. It isn’t a completely water-free process, but you’ve got to respect the monumental water reduction and minimal eco-impact.
Conventional cotton is an extremely dehydrated crop, taxing on soil health and 69% of the worldwide textile fiber output footprint. It also emits roughly 220 million metric tonnes of carbon each year. Meanwhile, the abuse of synthetic fertilizers adds insult to the injury— releasing nitrous oxide which is 310 times stronger than carbon dioxide.
Organic agricultural practices grow cotton clean and free of toxic substances- free of the chemical threats against humans and the environment. It incorporates farming strategies that protect wildlife welfare within cotton production zones and employs intercropping, conservation tillage, and crop rotation to curfew the growth of cotton pests. Over the last few years, organic cotton production has surged — organic cotton is now cultivated in over 20 countries throughout the world, in response to both local community and market demands.
Did you know Australia is the world's most productive organic cotton grower, harvesting an aggregate of 1,689 kilos of fiber per hectare?
Organic cotton improves the welfare of mankind, animals, and the biological capital of the planet. We must empower the cotton farmers by facilitating organic farming and supporting better managed and fairly traded organic cotton products.
Terra Thread's Sustainable Backpacks for College and Everyday Use
Housing versatile organic cotton products, our backpack collection is ethically produced for a more conscientious lifestyle. Terra Thread canvas backpacks are carbon-neutral, free of harmful dyes and lead, and constructed in fair trade factories utilizing organic cotton— ideal for everyday adventures. The spacious backpack accommodates compartments and storage areas for carrying laptops, lunch boxes, bottled water, and other essential belongings. And, you can also pick a favorite from a generous range of popping colors.
Social Cause: Supporting Feeding America’s Network of 200 Food Banks
Terra Thread is proud to assist Feeding America on its journey to end hunger in the United States. When you purchase Terra Thread bags, you help donate meals to Feeding America— every purchase helps in feeding nourishing meals to those in needs.
Benefits of Terra Thread’s Organic Cotton Backpacks
- Highest Certification- Manufacturers must follow the textile industry’s golden standards to earn the organic label— creating organic cotton products safely and ethically. All of Terra Thread’s sustainable backpack collections are Global Organic Textile Standards Certified. GOTS is the world's most widely recognized textile processing certification for organic fibers— a certification that reflects that a product was made with the best of eco-societal interest.
- Lesser Environmental Impact - We source and manufacture our organic cotton backpacks in an environmentally responsible manner. The process is free of industrial chemicals which contributes to clean water, farmers' health, and soil fertility. Terra Thread’s GOTS accredited, carbon-neutral organic cotton bags help in neutralizing the damages caused by the conventional cotton industry.
- A Viable Tomorrow- Organic cotton production and fabrication methods are the cornerstones of sustainable agriculture. Water scarcity is expected to affect more than two-thirds of the planet by 2025. Organic cotton cultivation is, in every regard, environmentally sustainable and benign— the best solution.
- Conscious Consumption - Purchasing organic cotton products helps conserve water and soil, promote fair wages and livelihoods, and clean the air. Using your purchasing power to demand organic textiles will push the fashion industry to embrace more sustainable and environmentally friendly manufacturing techniques.
Terra Thread’s Sustainable backpacks are free of pesticides and agrochemicals, considerably improving your prosperity on a day-to-day basis. It is not only safe for the health and environment but also supports farmers and workers to achieve a better livelihood.
Terra Thread everyday backpacks are created with love and ethical purpose while being fashionable and useful for protecting your valuables. We believe in the transformative potential of everyday activities through mindful purchasing— and we are eager for you to join us in our cause.
Interested in alternative sustainable items for your everyday bag? Take a look at our collection of ethical totes, cosmetic makeup bags, travel bags, organic cotton mini backpack for toddlers and adults and more.