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Ask Clive – Organic Textiles

Confusion about organic textiles shouldn’t blind you to their uses, says Clive Allcott.

Q: Branded clothing has seen an increase in demand for organic and certified clothing. What is the difference between organic and conventional cotton?

Organic cotton is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilisers, and build biologically diverse agriculture. Third-party certification organisations verify that organic producers use only allowed methods and materials. Organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and synthetic fertilisers. In addition, regulations prohibit the use of genetically engineered seed for organic farming meaning that all cotton sold as organic in Europe must meet strict regulations covering how the cotton is grown.

How do I know if it’s organic?

Unlike food, textile products don’t have to be certified to be described as organic. A product claiming to be organic might only contain a small percentage of organic cotton or maybe made of organic cotton but dyed using toxic chemicals which would never be allowed in certified organic products.

The use of any organic cotton is a great first step, but to be sure a product really is organic from field to finished product, lookout for the GlobalOrganic Textile Standard (GOTS) symbol as well as the OEKO-Tex symbol.

Certified and organic products could be the clothing solution for your clients.

Happy Selling
Clive, the clothing Guru.

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