Look around yourself; there is no way you won’t find something that isn’t made up of cotton. From the clothes we wear to the bedsheets we sleep on, everything is made of cotton. It's soft, comfortable, and versatile, making it a popular choice for textiles. However, there's a hidden side to the cotton industry that most people are unaware of. Do you know how much water it takes to grow a single piece of cotton clothing? You might not believe it, but it’s around 5,000 liters. Shocked, right?
Do you really think living a sustainable life is possible if the bedsheet that’s beneath you while you’re reading this requires more than 5,000 liters of water? At Dwij, we solely work for the purpose of letting the world know the true essence of sustainability and how upcycled products are the sole saviors of the environment. Let’s not waste another second and discuss how cotton is not the most prominent environmental-friendly fabric.
Cotton: The True Essence- Sustainable Living
Before we dive deep into cotton’s formation and clothing, it’s important to know how it is obtained. Cotton is a natural fiber that grows on cotton plants. It's often cultivated in warm climates. The problem begins when conventional farming practices are used to produce cotton. These practices have significant environmental consequences. Some of them are-
1. Insecticides and Pesticides
Well, one of the most harmful things about cotton begins with its production. The growth of conventional cotton requires an immense amount of insecticides and pesticides. These chemicals have several harmful effects on the environment. They can contaminate the soil and water, harming not only the ecosystem but also the people living around it.
2. Water Consumption
As told above, cotton requires a great deal of water to grow, and due to this, many areas face over-extraction of water resources, which is completely against sustainable living. And due to overconsumption of water, it results in its scarcity for both agriculture and local communities.
A sole haunting fact can make you rethink your favorite cotton shirt. And you’ll start to question its worth when you learn that it requires around 5000 liters to come into existence.
3. Soil Degradation
Another alarming thing about cotton growth is that it degrades and spoils the nutrients in the soil where it has been grown. Farmers often rely on chemical fertilizers to compensate for this, which further contributes to soil degradation. Healthy soil is essential for sustaining life on Earth, and cotton farming, as it's conventionally practiced, takes a toll on it.
Apart from these, there are several other hazardous things about growing cotton, such as energy consumption, water pollution, harmful growing techniques, etc. Now, question yourself Is cotton really worth it? Even after all these harmful aspects, do you really think producing the same amount of cotton over the years would lead us to the path of sustainable living?
Well, absolutely not. Rather than producing cotton to such a great extent, it's better to dive into upcycled clothing. When you understand the negatives of fast fashion and the truth behind producing materials like cotton, you won’t feel like investing anything in something like this.
Better Options To Choose: Sustainable Living
Now that you’re already aware of the consequences of growing cotton and producing clothes and daily life essentials with it, you might think- What shall we do? Well, there are far better options already available. All it takes is a little bit of research and conscious purchasing before buying anything. Below are some of the best cotton alternatives that can actually lead us to live a sustainable life.
You may also read: Lifecycle of various fabrics and what we prefer
One of the best alternatives is to shift our focus to organic cotton. Unlike conventional cotton, it requires very little water for its growth and is cultivated without synthetic pesticides and genetically modified seeds. This reduces chemical pollution, promotes soil health, and conserves water through more efficient irrigation practices.
Another sustainable choice is to dive into sustainable living and focus on recycling cotton. Rather than producing cotton from the beginning, it’s better to recycle and use the cotton that’s already available. Not only does it help to save resources like energy and water, but it also helps divert textile waste from landfills.
Linen and Hemp
Hemp and linen are eco-friendly natural fibers. They require fewer synthetic inputs, use significantly less water, and are known for their durability, making them sustainable alternatives to cotton.
Modal and Tencel
Tencel and Modal are produced from sustainably sourced wood pulp, often from renewable forests. Their closed-loop manufacturing systems recycle water and chemicals, reducing environmental impact. These fibers are biodegradable, contributing to a more eco-friendly textile industry.
Be the change; dive towards sustainable living
If you’ve understood the essence of this blog, don’t you think you should change your way of living to live a much healthier and more sustainable life? And now you might question how to do that. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered, Just follow the steps mentioned below-
Choose sustainable fabrics: When shopping for clothing and textiles, look for products made from organic or recycled materials.
Support Ethical Brands: Many companies are committed to sustainable practices. Supporting these brands helps promote eco-friendly alternatives.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Extend the life of your cotton products by caring for them properly. When it's time to part with them, recycle or upcycle whenever possible.
Spread Awareness: Educate others about the environmental impact of cotton and the benefits of choosing sustainable options.
Now, the fabric that you always took for granted and thought was eco-friendly has immense dark sides when produced conventionally. Living a sustainable life isn’t that complicated if you understand the essence behind the production of things that you want to purchase.
Although, until now, the production of cotton in mass has already led to the drying of many rivers, it is still produced. But, together, we can change. Let’s walk on the path of sustainability and spend our hard money on valuable products such as upcycled and eco-friendly ones.