Cotton is the common name given to several species of the botanical genus Gossypium L., from the Malvaceae family. There are about 40 species, shrubs, native to subtropical and tropical regions, some of which are used for the production of the textile fiber known as cotton.
In the wild, cotton bushes can reach up to 7 m in height. The leaves are large, with three, five (or even seven) wolves. The seeds are contained in a capsule, each one wrapped in a fluffy fiber designated by the English word lint (plural: linters). The species most used for commercial purposes are G. hirsutum (United States and Australia), G. arboreum and G. herbaceum (Asia), and G. barbadense (Egypt). Linters are generally white, but there are also varieties with brown or green color that, in order not to genetically contaminate the white variety, have their planting banned with large cotton production.
Organic or organic cotton is one that is grown without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizer additives, using methods with less environmental impact. This type of cotton is especially used in the production of scarves, scarves and kimonos. There are different levels of certification for this type of product, but in general it is required that the soils where the plant is grown have not received any chemical treatment in the last three years before planting.
Organic cotton is generally defined as cotton grown organically in subtropical countries such as India, Turkey, China and parts of the USA from non-genetically modified plants and without the use of synthetic agricultural chemicals, such as fertilizers or pesticides in addition to those permitted by labeling certified organic. Its production must promote and improve biodiversity and biological cycles. In the United States, cotton plantations must also meet the requirements imposed by the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) to be considered organic. This institution determines the practices allowed for pest control, cultivation, fertilization and management of organic crops.
Organic clothing can be made up of cotton, jute, silk, ramie or wool. Textiles do not need to be 100% organic to use the organic label. A more general term is organic textile, which includes clothing and home textiles. The technical requirements in terms of certification and origin generally remain the same for organic clothing and fabrics.
- GOTS, Global Organic Textile Standard – https://global-standard.org/
- ECOCERT – https://www.ecocert.com/en/certification