Organic cotton is a fiber grown naturally without the need for any pesticides and fertilizers. It carries a natural process that preserves the biological cycles, soil health, and biodiversity. Organic cotton is produced in the cleanest manner and does not carry any chemical processes from cultivation to harvesting. However, cultivating organic and conventional cotton requires intensive use of water and energy. The leading suppliers of organic cotton in the world are located in India, China, and Turkey.
Recycled cotton has two types – post-consumer and pre-consumer recycled cotton. Post-consumer cotton is utilized after being used by a consumer. The pre-consumer recycled cotton comes from manufacturing waste. It includes all the rejects, trimmings, scraps that are sent back to cotton manufacturers for a new life. Using recycled cotton is a good way of conserving the resources rather than sending it directly to landfills. 15-20% of the fabric is wasted in the production process, which can get recycled.
Certified organic cotton is the cleanest cotton product available to the industry as it is unaffected by any chemicals, colors, and water. It releases 46% less CO2 during production, which also makes it eco-friendly.
Recycled cotton production uses industrial and post-consumer cotton waste. The cellulosic fiber is extracted from yarn, textile production, old clothes, scraps, and other fabric waste. Cellulose is among the most sustainable materials that get recycled today. Most of the time, recycled cotton is blended with other fibers to increase their strength. Some manufacturers also use regular cotton to improve the quality of recycled cotton.
Practical benefits of recycled cotton
Recycled cotton looks and feels like organic cotton. It is equally durable, breathable, lightweight, and quick-drying. Recycled cotton also regulates body temperature like organic cotton, making it suitable for hot weather conditions.
Dying and printing on recycled cotton is easy. It can absorb the colors for a long time. Several companies today are using recycling methods to reduce the cost and resources for manufacturing. Recycling of cotton saves the resources used for the entire manufacturing of organic cotton textiles. It saves water and energy and also does not involve any harmful chemical use.
Some of the notable advantages of using recycled cotton are:
It is lightweight and feels soft and comfortable on the body. It has a breathable surface and offers high absorbency that keeps its surface dry. Its quick-drying quality prevents any bacteria accumulation and keeps the fabric clean and safe for the consumers. When it is not recycled, it can become a good biodegradable compound that prevents any harm to the environment.
Disadvantages of using recycled cotton
Recycled cotton is generally more expensive than organic cotton. Since it goes through a breakdown and remaking process, it requires more effort, and thus the costs increase.
Recycled cotton is still available in lesser quantities as there are not many companies using it to make their products.
Recycled cotton can have several chemicals as the fiber comes from different garments and products. It has chances of developing molds and fungus if not used for a long time. As compared to organic cotton, it can decay faster and offers low tear resistance.