Cotton comes in many forms: ribbon, rope, fabric, yarn, thread, stuffing, and paper. Having inherently good qualities—highly absorbent, breathable, resistant to insects, and medium resistance to UV light—cotton is a natural fiber that's easily composted. All positive attributes aside, cotton is often criticized because vast amounts of pesticides and fertilizers are used to conventionally grow this staple fiber.
According to the Organic Trade Association, organically produced cotton only represents 0.76% of global cotton production, but this percentage has been steadily rising as the popularity of and demand for organic increases.
The 2009 Organic Cotton Market Report released by Organic Exchange in May reported "global sales of organic cotton apparel and home textile products reached an estimated $4.3 billion in 2009. This reflects a 35 percent increase from the $3.2 billion market recorded in 2008."
Third party certifiers—AOFPS, GOTS, NOP, and ECOCERT just to name a few—can help consumers determine what they are purchasing is in fact organic. Many home textiles—table linens, bedding, towels—are now available in organic cotton. Reducing the toxicity load of one's home, organically grown fibers can help ensure a healthier living environment.
Resources for Organic Textiles on Re-Nest
- The 10 Best Organic Bedding Sources
- Organic, Non-Toxic, and Renewable Fabrics
- Wholesale Organic Fabric from Daisy Jane
- Four Hand Printed Fabric Designers
- Amenity: Organic Holiday Textiles
- Plover Organic
(Image: Green Lifestyle Magazine)