|If you want the best for your body, your baby, and our world, go green. What’s “green”? It’s acting in ways that are socially responsible (think fair-wage and fair-trade) and environmentally responsible (think clean, sustainable manufacturing and organic). Green means protecting our natural resources for future generations and choosing high-quality, fabulous products that reflect our beliefs.|
Organic cotton starts with organic farming practices, which use seeds that haven't been genetically modified or treated with pesticides. Pest control is accomplished through the use of natural predators and other natural practices. From growth through harvest, the process is monitored according to a set of Organic Growing Standards adopted by governmental bodies.
Cotton crops comprise less than 3% of the world's agriculture, but use 25% of the world's insecticides. It takes about one third of a pound of these chemicals to produce enough cotton for one t-shirt. Seven of the most common pesticides used on cotton are "known, probable, or likely" to be human carcinogens according to the EPA, and are also thought to cause, among other health risks, birth defects and nervous system disorders.
Pesticides impact the soil, water and air that we all share. Regardless of where cotton is grown, the pesticides used often find their way into the human food chain. For example, cottonseed oil is used in processed foods, and beef and dairy cows are fed cotton straw and other cotton waste. Many food crops are often grown in rotation with cotton.
By purchasing organic cotton, you’re doing your part to reduce the use of dangerous pesticides, and you’re protecting your family from any chemical residues that may linger in conventional cotton. Plus, you get a better product! Since organic cotton plants aren't bombarded with toxic chemicals they tend to produce longer fibers, which yield stronger yarn and more durable fabrics. Pesticide-free long cotton fiber also feels softer, more breathable and luxurious against the skin. Products made with organic cotton last longer and actually improve in quality with use.
Organic cotton is just the beginning of a responsible, green product. The ways in which fabrics are dyed and finished matter too! According to experts, conventional clothing dyes can cause a wide variety of health problems for people with chemical sensitivities. It is often the dye fixative used to bond the dye color to the fabric that causes the most problems. Toxic chemicals sometimes found in the dyeing process include, Dioxin, Formaldehyde, and heavy metals such as chrome, copper, and zinc. These chemicals are absorbed through the skin.
Toxic chemicals from dyes also create severe environmental damage. Large amounts of water are required to flush conventional synthetic dyes from garments. Theoretically, this waste water must be treated to remove the heavy metals and other toxic chemicals before it can be returned to water systems, sewers, and rivers; however this does not always happen.
In order for products to meet organic certification, only low-impact fiber-reactive dyes may be used. Fiber-reactive dyes bond directly to the clothing fiber molecules, creating less waste-water runoff and, therefore, a lower impact on the environment. Recent advances have created fiber-reactive dyes with colors that are brighter and richer, and they provide excellent colorfast properties. They contain no heavy metals or other known toxic substances, and they meet all European Union criteria for being an eco-friendly pigment!
Previous generations have focused on manufacturing products at the cheapest price possible. Now we’re realizing that cheap manufacturing often has great costs – in terms of environmental wreckage and squandered resources. A green lifestyle seeks products that use sustainable resources. You might consider choosing baby furniture crafted in wood from well-managed forests approved by organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council. Another excellent choice for sustainability is clothes made in bamboo. Bamboo grows much faster than cotton, and thrives without pesticides or herbicides, making it a highly renewable resource. It also is naturally smooth, requiring less chemical finishes than conventional cotton. Because Bamboo is also absorbent, breathable, strong, and anti-bacterial, it is a wonderful new fabric for the green family!
Fair Wage/Fair Trade
We all know that the poor are often exploited by unfair working conditions. Do you part to provide good jobs by choosing products that are made in the USA or made under fair wage or fair trade conditions. Fair wage means that the employees are treated and paid fairly. This also includes healthy working conditions and respect.
Fair trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, which seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers. Fair trade organizations actively support producers, raise awareness, and campaign for changes in the rules and practice of international trade.
Sources: Kee-Ka – Gifts that matter