May 7, 2012 § Leave a comment
When it comes to bamboo and organic cotton clothing, it’s important to not let the perfect become the enemy of the good. For example, there are excellent choices out there right now for organic tee shirts for women, men and kids. The poster child for bad farming techniques is cotton. Non-organic cotton is possibly the most insecticide sprayed and chemically treated crop in the world. It is then transported great distances to be manufactured into clothing in brutal sweatshops. Even some non-linen hemp and bamboo clothing is manufactured in an outdated, chemically harsh rayon process. Eco-conscious consumers and retailers need to be aware that there is more than one step in making clothing and fabric worthy of an “Organic” label.
At every step in the process, there is a lot of room for improvement over the status quo. Fair Trade policies focus attention on the human side of this by requiring fair wages and safe conditions for workers and fair prices for crops. The Fair Trade certification is very strict and requires sign off on every step of manufacture and production from raw materials to finish product. “Organic” is used on labels more loosely, but is still a valuable term to consumers and retailers alike. For example, certified organic cotton is a vast improvement that means less persistent toxic insecticides, healthy soil management and no synthetic fertilizers.
Things are a little more complicated for bamboo and hemp rayon. Both are especially eco-friendly crops, quick to grow with a very low need for either fertilizer or pesticides. Bamboo in particular grows very quickly with minimal, if any, negative environmental impact. The quality of the fabric rivals silk in comfort and is very effective lightweight, breathable fabric for blocking harmful UV radiation. Organic bamboo is readily available in China, giving it the added advantage of being a locally grown crop exactly where most clothes in the world are made. That said, it’s critical that environmentally safe practices are in place where the plant is converted to fabric. Consumers and retailers looking to support organic products have to ask questions and keep pressure on manufacturers to use safe methods. In the meantime, while none of these products are perfect, organic clothing for women are a vast and welcome improvement over any non-organic alternative.