My son came home from school telling me that we should wear more cotton, because it’s natural and therefore more eco-friendly. I thought the same for a long time and many of us too. Let me explain why cotton clothes are not eco-friendly, at least not the normal, mass-produced ones.

Why cotton clothes are NOT eco-friendly and a list of alternatives. Did you know that the "normal" production of cotton uses a lot of water and pesticides? I will explain this and more environmental and health impacts before giving you a list with eco-friendly, sustainable alternatives

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Growing cotton and it´s impact on the environment

Let me take you on a little journey around the world. First, we are going to Lake Aral, which in 1964 still was a big lake. If you have a look at it now, it has more or less disappeared.

This is in a great part down to Uzbekistan´s cotton farms. Cotton does need a lot of water to grow. Did you know that just for a pair of jeans 15.523 liters of water are used in the whole production? 15.523 liters! This is to grow the cotton and then the water used in the fabrics. And we haven´t even talked about other toxins used in the production!

Using up most of the water from the lake had a big impact on the climate in the region. Instead of it being mild, it now is either hot or very cold. Sand storms are now very common carrying the pesticides used in the cotton production far out.

Those pesticides have shown to have an impact on the population with TB, strokes, cancer and other health issues rising.

Another negative impact: the fishing industry has been wiped out with 10s of thousands of jobs lost.

So, here you can see that within the growing industry cotton clothes are not eco-friendly.

The government of Kazakstan has built a dam to be able to save at least part of the lake, but it is uncertain if the damage done can be reversed.

Why fast fashion is not good for the planet

Fashion used to be for 2 seasons mainly when I was a child: summer and winter. Later came spring and autumn fashion. Now, I can hardly keep up with fashion anymore, because it seems to change every week! Do we really need that much?

300.000 items of clothing get dumped every year, partly just because of being out of fashion! Synthetic clothes break down in the landfills into microfibers. Those then get into the water, not only the ocean, but as well into our drinking water. And from there into our food chain…

Did you know that scientists now have proven for the first time that our bodies contain microfibers?

Most fashion manufacturing uses a lot of chemicals that are toxic to our environment and everything living in the surrounding. So, even if you don´t buy synthetic clothes, this shows you why cotton clothes are not eco-friendly.

Interested in starting to help protecting our planet? Get the FREE pdf “15 tips on starting a Greener Life“!

This brings us to another part of the world I want to tell you about. Indonesia.

Textile production and it´s impact on the environment

If you have a look at the Citarum river, it is totally polluted. Years of fabrics letting their waste and toxins flow into the river have damaged it to extremes and the smell is unbearable.

There are laws that should prevent this from happening, but this still doesn´t stop anything.

There is purple liquid flowing in the river, foam, dead rats poisoned by the water… It is actually the most polluted river in the world!

28 million people depend on this river for their drinking water, irrigation of their fields and much more. This in turn means that they drink the toxins and eat them! As a result people and animals living close to the river suffering from various health issues, like skin problems, cancer and many neurological problems.

Just those facts on their own should stop anyone in their tracks and think twice, if they really need to buy the latest fashion or if the clothes they have are still good enough.

These facts have been taken from a documentary on BBC1: Stacey Dooley investigates.

But now to the more positive part of this post. I have researched into eco-friendly fashion companies and give you a little list of them now.

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Why cotton clothes are NOT eco-friendly and a list of alternatives. Did you know that the "normal" production of cotton uses a lot of water and pesticides? I will explain this and more environmental and health impacts before giving you a list with eco-friendly, sustainable alternatives

Wanting to start a greener life, but feeling overwhelmed? Then my E-book “Ease into Green Living” is the right fit for you! Special offer: 30 minute call with me where you can ask me anything you want 🙂

Environmental friendly fashion companies

I will put the companies I have found in alphabetical order, so no preference set.

Coalatree:

Coalatree designs eco-minded gear and apparel for the adventurer in everyone, from athletes and photographers to your average city folks and weekend warriors. Every year they use surplus fabric to create warm blankets for the homeless and they work with several organisations to maintain hiking and biking trails.

Darn Good Yarn:

Apart from yarn and craft supplies, Darn Good Yarn also sells clothes. Their yarn is made from recycled silk and their goal to create a better world by caring, not only for all workers involved in the process. In their 10 years in business they have saved over a million pounds of material waste and helped create hundreds of sustainable jobs.

Elvis & Kresse:

Elvis & Kresse creates amazing bags and accessories all from recycled materials, like fire hoses, parachutes, leather offcuts, etc. They have rescued over 170 tons of fire hoses in London from the landfill so far. And 50% of the profits they make are going to charities.

Infinite Earth Apparel:

Infinite Earth´s surf apparel products are all made from quality sourced organic, recycled and sustainable materials. They want their products to make customers happy while also helping to preserve our oceans, land, rivers and mountains. They believe that protecting our planet is just as important as producing stylish clothing.

Manduka:

Manduka is the company to go for yogi. Apart from high quality environmental friendly yoga mats and towels, you can also get sportswear. Their clothing is made from fabrics sourced from environmentally responsible materials like recycled polyester, organic cotton and plant-based materials. They also work with several charities.

Natural Collection:

Natural Collection is a UK-based eco-friendly online department store where you find everything you might need, including fashion. All their products are fair trade, organic and eco-friendly. You can browse products they offer by ethics and tags: Fair Trade, Organic, Eco friendly, Education, Health & Wellness, Locally produced and Charity

Nest Bedding:

Nest Bedding is not a fashion company as such, they sell affordable organic and natural mattresses, bedding and pillows for adults, kids and pets. As family run business they serve several areas in the US. But this is not all, you can also buy sleep apparel like bamboo pajamas, as they call them and much more.

Organic Basics:

Organic Basics is a Copenhagen based clothing company that creates sustainable, better made basics, shipping worldwide. If you are looking for basic clothing that is sustainable in every way, this is the place to go.Plus, every order made with Organic Basics will clean up 30 kilos of trash from urban waterways.

People Tree:

People Tree is a UK-based fashion company selling fashion made with respect for people and the planet. The cotton used in their fabrics comes from organic cotton farms and use sustainable methods to minimise environmental impact. Some of their clothes are made from recycled materials as well.

I hope this post has helped you find out why cotton clothes are not eco-friendly and has given you ideas on how to find eco-friendly fashion. Always remember though, before you buy anything ask yourself: Do I really need it?

Why cotton clothes are NOT eco-friendly and a list of alternatives. Did you know that the "normal" production of cotton uses a lot of water and pesticides? I will explain this and more environmental and health impacts before giving you a list with eco-friendly, sustainable alternatives

You might also enjoy reading: 10 good reasons to start going green, 25 ways to protect our environment on a budget, Green living & feeling guilty, How to teach your kids the importance of green living, Gardening tools for your climate-friendly garden and Eco-friendly toys you can buy this Christmas.

Interested in starting to help protecting our planet? Get the FREE pdf “15 tips on starting a Greener Life“!

Wanting to start a greener life, but feeling overwhelmed? Then my E-book “Ease into Green Living” is the right fit for you! Special offer: 30 minute call with me where you can ask me anything you want 🙂