By Courtney Sturniolo
Cotton is soft, breathable, and comes from the earth. It has to be an eco-friendly clothing option, right?! Well, it’s complicated…
A Thirsty Crop
Not that kind of thirsty – get your mind out of the gutter ;)
Cotton is considered a “thirsty crop” because of the massive amounts of water that is required. One cotton shirt requires 2,700 liters of water — equivalent to drinking water for one person for two-and-a-half years. The cotton in one pair of jeans requires 10,000 liters of water or 10 years of drinking water! What’s more, it’s often grown in places already facing severe water shortages.
Annual cotton production has surpassed 25 million tons. Of that, 89% percent grow genetically modified cotton that was adapted to include pesticides. “Bt cotton has been genetically modified by the insertion of one or more genes from a common soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis. These genes encode for the production of insecticidal proteins, and thus, genetically transformed plants produce one or more toxins as they grow.” Despite this, they usually require additional pesticides.
That’s why growing cotton accounts for 25% of the insecticides and 11% of pesticides used worldwide. It doesn’t end there.
Manufacturing chemicals include silicone waxes, petroleum scours, softeners, heavy metals, flame retardants, ammonia, and formaldehyde. Some 8,000 synthetic chemicals are used in fashion manufacturing, many of which are known to be carcinogens or hormone disruptors. These chemicals can be detected in the final garment that you wear against your skin.
Organic cotton is emerging as a sustainable option, and manufacturers are beginning to adopt it. For now, it accounts for about 10% of cotton clothing. Organic cotton is promoted as using less water than growing traditional cotton, but that doesn’t include the 20% of organic cotton that is irrigated, as opposed to rainfed. That means that only 8% of cotton garments sold today are truly sustainable, eco-friendly clothing.
Sugopetite dresses are manufactured of state-of-the-art, Chitosante fabric, which has been independently certified to be sustainable by the US Environment Protection Agency.
Chitosante is made from recycled PET from post-consumer plastic bottles. Every Sugopetite dress keeps about 30 bottles of plastic out of oceans, landfills, and incinerators.
Recycled PET is combined with biomass from crustaceans. Unlike fibers from thirsty cotton plants, crustacean biomass involves no pesticides or insecticides. No bees were harmed in the making of your dress! Now that’s eco-friendly clothing.
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