Cotton is the world’s most popular choice of material and it is easy to see why. Once woven, it is light, breathable, easy to work with, comfortable to wear and it washes well but it may surprise you to learn that cotton can in fact be one of the dirtiest crops around. Non-organic cotton is a big problem for our environment, in more ways than one, and it is most commonly used within the fast fashion industry, so is usually found in a lot of our high street stores. Organic cotton, on the other hand, is sustainable and ethical, ensuring the well-being of both our planet and all of the farmers and workers who help with the production. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at the two types of cotton and help you, as the consumer, recognise which way you should be buying.

The 3 Biggest Issues with Non-Organic Cotton Production Are:

1. The fact that pesticides and insecticides are overused which leads to contamination within the cotton and therefore onto your clothing, plus these also leach into the surrounding soil and water systems which has a negative knock-on effect to our ecosystems not to mention the risks posed to workers who distribute them. 

2. Large cotton farms will require a huge amount of water to keep their crops at their best which has been known to drain lakes and even inland seas.  Watch Are Your Clothes Wrecking the Planet Stacey Dooley Investigates– did you know that the cotton used in one shirt can use up to 2,700 litres of water?! 

3. The dyes used to colour the final garments are flushed out into waterways, polluting it and causing damage and even death to sea life and wildlife. By choosing cheaply made cotton clothing, you could well (unknowingly) be supporting these type of practices.

Choosing Organic Cotton

There are various sustainable kinds of cotton available, but, if you want to be sure that what you are buying is grown in a truly sustainable way, looking for certified organic cotton (GOTS) is your best option. The organic growing of cotton is the only system that ensures the elimination of the use of highly toxic substances, it uses all of the best and sustainable practices available and it guarantees that each person on the line benefits from good working conditions and good pay.

GOTS Organic Cotton Certification at Nurture Collective blog, Why Choose Organic CottonWhat Is GOTS?

GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) is the worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibres, including ecological and social criteria, backed up by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain. You will be able to recognise if a product is GOTS certified by their logo which is only presented if all ethical practices have been followed. This transparency allows the consumer the opportunity to choose truly organic products sourced from green supply chains.

Reasons To Shop Organic Cotton

1. Helps to Combat Climate Change

Organic farmers use natural methods to grow cotton and will not reach for those fossil-fuel based fertilisers. By working with nature, these farmers build up healthy soils on their land which not only helps to retain water but also stores a large amount of carbon. It has been noted that organic cotton emits up to 46% less greenhouse gas than the processes used to make non-organic cotton.

2. Saves Water

As we mentioned above, the soil these farmers use will help to save water. The reason for this is that this far healthier soil acts like a sponge, soaking up water during rain and floods and then holding it for far longer which is a huge benefit during dry periods. This means that the cotton crop always has a good, natural water supply to keep it healthy.

3. Helps farmers feed their families

Organic farmers will use permaculture methods to create a sustainable way of growing other crops and foods. These can be used to help to feel themselves, their village or community and brings them another income stream.

4. Gives Complete Control to Farmers Not Companies

Genetically modified (GM) seeds are banned in organic farming, so organic farmers are not reliant on a handful of large GM companies. Instead, they save their seeds and work with the environment in a long-term, sustainable way.

5. Eliminates Hazardous Chemicals

Organic farmers use natural methods like crop rotation to control pests and diseases, not chemical hazardous synthetic pesticides, insecticides and herbicides which damage our ecosystems, pollute waterways and endanger workers who can’t always afford the appropriate safety equipment.

6. Better Quality

Organic cotton is completely handpicked, preserving the purity of every fibre and ensuring that none are damaged in this process. Non-organic cotton has a higher demand and supply chain which means that it is more often than not machine-picked to cope with the rush. This reduces the purity and damages the cotton fibres which leads to loss, wastage and weakened fibres going into your final garment. Your organic cotton will therefore last far longer and be of a higher quality.

Pretty Stem Toddler Duvet organic cotton organic cotton bedding set by Gilded Bird at Nurture CollectiveGilded Bird

One of our latest brands to join the Collective Gilded Bird was aware of all of these issues and knew that parents want only the best. The most natural and safest materials in their baby’s cots and toddler beds. Made from GOTS certified organic cotton, this thick, stretchy jersey cotton is perfectly soft for your baby. You can also trust that a Gilded Bird fitted cot sheet will be long lasting, 100% machine washable (tumble dry on low) and of course, absolutely stunning.


There is no doubt that organic cotton is a sustainable and eco-friendly option to non-organic cotton and by choosing this material you will be doing your bit for the environment whilst supporting farmers, workers and their families.

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