What type of cotton for your kid?
What’s your kid’s favourite garment? A sweater, a vest or a T-shirt? Many of your child’s clothes are made of cotton. After polyester, cotton is the most used material in the production of textiles. Worldwide, quite a lot of cotton is needed - around 26 million tons per year.
Despite it being completely biodegradable, cotton is not that ecofriendly. Or is it?
The cotton plant
The cotton plant grows in (sub) tropical and temperate regions such as China, Peru and India, where it is one of the most important export products. Cotton is also grown to a lesser extent in Europe and the United States. Cotton grows from the epidermis of the cotton plant as a soft fiber. The fibers are spun into threads and this is used to make textiles.
Another characteristic of cotton is that it is a very thirsty plant. 10,000 liters of water are needed for 1 kg of cotton. Due to the warming of the climate-increasing drought, and due to the high water consumption of cotton, this is already causing shortages in many areas.
Cotton farmers who grow cotton in a “traditional” way use genetically modified seeds and a lot of chemical pesticides. These toxic substances are not only harmful to the environment but also to the growers and workers who are exposed to them every day.
As much as 25% of all insecticides are used for cotton. A lot of chemicals are therefore needed to make one T-shirt.
In addition, many Indian cotton farmers are running into huge debts to buy genetically engineered seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. When they can no longer pay the debts, more than 300,000 Indian cotton farmers have already committed suicide. They saw no other way out.
By growing organic cotton, the soil of the cotton plantation remains healthy and less water is needed, which is better for the environment. In fact, water consumption for organic cotton is 182 liters/kg lint, which is significantly less than that of conventional cotton at 2,120 liters/ kg lint.
Farmers and animals (birds, fish, etc.) also benefit from not contracting diseases due to exposure to all kinds of chemicals.
Why organic cotton?
Better for the environment, people and animals, that is clear. So why don't we always choose organic cotton? One possible reason could be the price. Organic cotton is more expensive. The question is, does this outweigh the enormous ecological footprint?
Organic cotton is especially suitable for children because it has a softer structure. The threads of non-organic cotton can be damaged by the chemical fertilizers, making them rougher. Children love soft materials that are nice, supple and comfortable. Kids who suffer from allergies and eczemas are better off choosing organic cotton.
Besides the softness of the structure, organic cotton also breathes better than traditional cotton. If you shop clothes for your capon from now on, choose organic cotton. Not only good for our children, but also for the planet and the people who grow, harvest, spin and weave it!
The abbreviation GOTS stands for Global Organic Textile Standard, an international certificationthat sets requirements for both the production of the fibers and their further development into garments. At least 70 percent (“Made with organic”) or at least 95 percent (“Organic”) of the garment must consist of organically produced materials.
The requirements for the organic production of cotton are laid down in European rules. No synthetic agents, no genetically modified organisms and no fertilizers are used in cultivation. A plan for water use and drainage must also be developed by the producers.
The GOTS certificate also requires safe working conditions, good working hours, fair wages and the absence of child labor. Also, the packaging of products may not be PVC and the labels and hang tags must be made of recycled material or FSC / PEFC certified paper.
At The Extra Smile
Our sustainable basics have a GOTS symbol sewn into the clothing, thanks to the fact that the entire production chain is certified.
We purchase certified materials for our Summerbreeze and Dream Out Loud collections, which we make in small workshops. However, we are not (yet) allowed to use the GOTS label, because the last steps of the production process have not been approved by GOTS. Hopefully we can do this in the future; when we as a company grow enough and make enough profit to afford this expensive certification.
Together we put a smile on the faces of everyone who grows, harvests, spins, weaves or sews the cotton, and the kids who wear our collections.
Heleen & Samantha