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Organic clothing refers to clothes made of organic fabrics such as organic cotton or organic wool. Organic clothing benefits the environment, your health, animal welfare.
Organic Clothing & The Environment
In order to get the organic certification organic clothing needs to comply with strict guidelines which restrict the use of chemicals and pesticides. Chemicals used in conventional cotton and wool production can seep in the soil and ground water. They have also adverse effects on biodiversity.
- 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. 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 treated with many different chemicals to clean it and process it into a finish product. All those chemicals can pollute the environment.
Pan UK has a wealth of information on organic cotton.
Organic Clothing & 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 or dermatitis.
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 & Animal Welfare
Organic wool is wool produced from sheep that are not not exposed to pesticides, insecticides and antibiotics. Organic certification also ensures that the sheep are in in good farming and humane conditions. They are allowed to graze on large pastures free from chemicals.
For Merino wool, museling (removal of wool and skin near the bottoms of sheeps to prevent fly-strike) is forbidden in the UK but still allowed in Australia. It is a cruel practice which is forbidden under organic standards.