Organic Cotton vs Conventional Cotton

Organic Cotton vs Conventional Cotton

Cayla Zelanis

Fibers that come from nature are perfect just the way they are. That’s why each Coyuchi piece is designed with care and consideration, and why we use only 100% organic cotton. We never blend our fibers with synthetic materials like polyester, and we go to great lengths to keep our linens clean and toxin-free. Coyuchi is—and always has been—100% natural.

The word "coyuchi"—derived from Nahuatl, the language spoken by the Aztecs—refers to the brown hue of naturally occurring cotton. Like the layers of the earth, these natural variations in fiber, yarn, and finish are a celebration of nature, and cotton’s versatility. We were the first to bring organic cotton linens to the market thirty years ago, and we continue to champion its benefits today—even when access to this non-GMO seed is still limited, and less than 1% of the world’s cotton is organic.

Not only is organic cotton free from pesticides and harsh chemicals, it also requires less water and energy to produce, and contributes to healthier soil. These low-impact methods play a pivotal role in the fight against climate change. While conventional farming contributes to pollution on a large scale, organic farming systems have the potential to effectively capture CO2 from the atmosphere and sequester it in the ground. As a result, the soil carbon pool is nearly three times larger than the atmospheric pool. (Source: Textile Exchange)

The methods and materials that go into farming organic cotton are designed to have the lowest impact on the environment. By banning the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers, as well as genetically engineered seed, these organic systems are not only cleaner, but they actively replenish and maintain soil fertility and contribute to greater biodiversity. In order to earn organic certification, these producers must meet strict federal guidelines that are overseen by third-party organizations.

At Coyuchi, our organic cotton products are certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) because it is the highest standard in the world. Every step of the supply chain must be independently certified, from sowing through sewing, and all the way to your door. Traceability begins at the cotton gin and continues throughout every stage of production to ensure not only a safer end-product for consumers, but also a healthier experience for the farmers and working communities who handle these items.

GOTS prohibits the use of a long list of chemicals commonly used in all stages of conventional textile production for environmental or toxicological reasons, including flame retardants, endocrine disruptors, heavy metals, PFCs, formaldehyde, etc. GOTS only allows the use of chemicals that they assess and approve against human health and environmental indicators—examples include low impact fiber reactive dyes, and using hydrogen peroxide for whitening instead of chlorine bleach.

Beyond the strict chemical restrictions, GOTS also requires environmental management plans and wastewater treatment at all wet processing units. GOTS has limit values for residues from unintentional contamination and social compliance criteria that correspond to the International Labor Organization (ILO). With GOTS, we know that every step of the process is monitored to ensure safety, all the way down to the smallest details, for humans and the environment on both a local and global scale.

Much of our cotton is also Fair Trade Certified™, which means that our partners provide traceable and transparent supply chains, and ensure sustainable livelihoods to the people who create our products. It’s another step we’re happy to take in order to stay connected to our global community, reminding us how many hands it takes to bring each textile into our homes.

For us, organic cotton is about more than just comfort. By supporting organic farmers and working communities, we hope to raise the standards for all processes within agriculture. As the demand for organic cotton—and all sustainable and environmentally conscious goods—grows, the world benefits. It’s why making the change to organic is so important, whether it’s on a global scale or simply an individual choosing a healthier home for themselves, and sharing the love with those they care about.

*Information provided by Textile Exchange