Monday, October 13, 2008

Cotton Industry Begins Discrediting Campaign

Mornings are dark now but the glow of the moon makes it beautiful.

Let the games begin... Seems the Cotton Industry is worried about the growth of organic cotton ( I would have thought that all kinds of cotton were a good thing, but heck, what do I know.) So to safeguard their niche of conventionally grown cotton, the industry has produced this really tacky quiz to discredit YOU. By using the "always" and "never" words in carefully selected questions, it can seem like being green isn't all its cracked up to be.

The website Fabric of Our Lives is touting cotton as "natural" (that's another blog), green and environmentally friendly. Their "Did You Know" page is fluffed with veiled answers and blatantly not environmentally suggestions like dry cleaning because they (shirts) "require professional pressing and finishing, such as starched oxford shirts." While discussing permanent press fabric they omit the nasty little detail about the chemicals used to soak the fabric straight - DMDHEU - a formaldehyde based chemical. The bleaching process using chlorine is totally not part of any discussion that I could find. Never mind the whole anti-staining and nanotechnology also invading the cotton industry.

They have also teamed up with Macy's to promote their Reusable "Natural" cotton bag. Reusable bags are key to the new world life style but using recycled cotton sure makes a lot more sense, and they do come in organic cotton too. The website even has the gall to have an "earth-friendly"section which basically pushes conventional cotton. This is "green washing" at its best.

Though cotton is a plant (duh) the conventionally grown cotton industry took the growing of cotton to new heights and has done a lot of damage along the way. As with many conventionally grown products, the over use of pesticides and fertilizers, soil erosion and water pollution is taking its toll on our environment. And this includes cotton. The comparison between conventional cotton and organically grown cotton is huge, as is the processing as well.

And what about the labor issue? Ever wonder why cotton can be so cheap? They aren't making a living wage and that's for sure.

So buyer be ware. You'll probably start to hear about the virtues of "natural" cotton if the campaign succeeds in getting their message out to the masses. Remember asbestos is natural too so take little stock in the word "natural". Certified organic cotton assures you a quality, earth-friendly product but it is best to look for fair labor/wage practices as well. This is a winning combination that the cotton industry isn't willing to tackle.

No comments: