“Organic bedding” – we’ve all heard it, we’ve all seen it, and some of us have even purchased it. But have you ever wondered why? A little research quickly gets through all the marketing and buzzwords to reveal the truth.
Conventional cotton production is perhaps the dirtiest and most toxic cultivated crop. That’s a pretty strong statement, but consider:
- Standard cotton production consumes 12% of the world’s pesticides and 25% of all insecticides.
- Three of the most commonly used insecticides used for conventional cotton crops are considered hazardous by the World Health Organization.
- Thirteen of the top 15 pesticides used in standard cotton production are toxic to fish and birds.
- Up to one-third of a pound of fertilizers is used to grow one pound of cotton and nitrogen-based synthetic fertilizers pollute waterways and groundwater.
- To finish conventional cotton, hazardous chemicals like silicone waxes, toxic softeners, heavy metals, ammonia, and formaldehyde are used, many of which many of which make it into our waterways and groundwater.
By contrast, organic cotton is grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, or pesticides. Instead, farmers who grow organic cotton use things like manure and cover crops to add nutrients, which also help to increase the biological ecosystem in soil. Finishing organic cotton is also more eco-friendly as the processing standards prohibit the use of harsh chemicals.
Many manufacturers of organic bedding are also embracing linen. Made from flax, linen is an extremely hearty plant that grows with no need for additional fertilizers or pesticides, making it nearly organic by nature. Linen is one of the oldest known fabrics, dating back to ancient Egypt.
How can you ensure you’re looking at organic bedding? Look for GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) and OEKO-Tex certifications on cotton bedding. It’s rare to find certified linens, but if you are purchasing from a company that certifies their cottons, their linen is probably a safe bet as well. Certification and organic growing and manufacturing processes ensure that the product is “green” from seed through growing, harvesting, production and labeling.
We work to ensure that all of our bedding is either certified, or produced with rigorous care for the environment and contains no toxic chemicals. The final product is not only better for the environment, it’s also a healthier choice for you and your family since you won’t be bringing in (and sleeping on) a bunch of toxins.
The journey of organic cotton fiber is very different than that of conventionally grown cotton that has been bathed in chemicals throughout its growing process and then goes on to be processed in even more toxic chemicals. Organic cotton is grown and harvested without chemicals, washed in biodegradable soap and spun into thread and finally fabric. After that, the fabric is processed with natural enzymes and biodegradable soap. If the cotton needs to be whitened, it’s done with hydrogen peroxide instead of harsh chlorine bleach and the dyes used are fiber-reactive, low-impact dyes that require less water, heat, energy and dye material than conventional ones. They also produce less waste and bond better with the fabric. The finished fabric is preshrunk via steam and rollers before being cut and sewn into bedding.
All of which sounds much nicer than a bunch of unpronounceable chemical treatments that are unhealthy and damaging to the environment.