Organic Cotton vs. Synthetic Fibers

Terra Thread's Organic Cotton Backpack is making a difference

We know you have tons of choices when it comes to purchasing backpacks, but did you know that lots of backpacks in the market are made of synthetic materials? These synthetic materials are harmful to the environment, wildlife, and people! To help you make a conscious purchase, we have broken down the difference between organic cotton and synthetic fibers.

We are proud to offer Fairtrade Certified Backpacks made of 100% organic cotton.  

MADE FROM

Organic Cotton: High quality hand-picked cotton that is certified to organic agricultural standards, which prohibits the use of toxic chemicals or GMOs

Synthetics: Manufactured from crude oil by reacting carbon-based chemicals under high pressure and temperature

BIODEGRADABILITY

Organic Cotton: Takes about 6 months

Synthetics: Takes hundreds of years

GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS

Organic Cotton: Manufacturing process releases 78% less carbon emissions compared to polyester and 91% less compared to nylon

Synthetics: Manufacturing process releases a large amount of direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, and sulphur oxides

ENERGY COST

Organic Cotton: Requires about 1/6 less energy than polyester production

Synthetics: Polyester requires about 600-650% more energy than organic cotton production; Nylon requires even more energy than polyester production by nearly 25%

WATER IMPACT

Organic Cotton: Is 80% rain-fed, reducing pressure on local water sources

Synthetics: Uses large amounts of water for cooling process 

ECOSYSTEM IMPACT

Organic Cotton: Restores and sustains health of soils and natural ecosystems

Synthetics: Pollutes the environment and damages ecosystems by emitting harmful and persistent chemicals and microplastics; Water supplied used for drinking water are contaminated with microplastics

EFFECT ON PEOPLE

Organic Cotton: Prioritizes health and wellbeing of farmers, their families and their communities by limiting exposure to toxic chemicals and providing a local source of income

Synthetics: Manufacturing synthetics exposes workers to many carcinogens; Pollution from petrochemicals disproportionately harms indigenous communities and communities of color 


 

Sources

About Organic Cotton. http://aboutorganiccotton.org/

Dartmouth College. http://www.dartmouth.edu/~cushman/courses/engs171/UsefulNumbers.pdf

Earth Justice. https://earthjustice.org/features/petrochemicals-explainer?gclid=CjwKCAjwlbr8BRA0EiwAnt4MTiy6ycVddznRc3qhqs8lF-ey3qQWZLCsMjO9XWMndRS31zANzJsHqxoC-cQQAvD_BwE

The Ecologist. https://theecologist.org/2009/feb/06/whats-most-sustainable-fabric

Green America. https://www.greenamerica.org/unraveling-fashion-industry/unpacking-toxic-textiles

Green Choices. https://www.greenchoices.org/green-living/clothes/environmental-impacts

Stockholm Environment Institute. https://mediamanager.sei.org/documents/Publications/SEI-Report-EcologicalFootprintAndWaterAnalysisOfCottonHempAndPolyester-2005.pdf

Textile Exchange. https://textileexchange.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/TE-Material-Snapshot_Organic-Cotton.pdf

Previous post Next post