Friday, December 31, 2010

Why You Should Buy Organic Cotton

I’ve always liked the idea of organic food. But until recently, I rarely bought it. While I don’t want to ingest one more chemical than I absolutely necessary, the extra cost was always a tough sell. And I thought my body was the only issue to consider.

As a food consumer, I had a hard time convincing myself that the health benefits to my little body were worth the commitment to more expensive lettuce, tomatoes, apples, beef, chicken, or whatever-it-was I was buying that day.

I always thought I’d make the switch when I got older, when disposable income could easily accommodate it. And so there I’d stand at the supermarket, rationalizing my purchase of the cheaper stuff. After all, it's just me at stake, right?

When I started Beyond Junk, my thoughts on organic food seemed unrelated to recycling. I wanted Beyond Junk to be a supplier of recycled crafting material. But after challenges in securing a reliable supplier of recycled metal chain, I did a little research to find out what makes organic cotton different. If I couldn’t offer a recycled supply item, I wanted to know what the options were in responsible supplies.

"Cotton cultivation uses approximately 11% of the world’s pesticides, though it is grown on just 2.4% of the world’s arable land. Some of these chemicals are classified as toxic or carcinogenic by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In developing countries, where regulations are less stringent, the negative impacts are more severe."

- Sustainable Cotton Project
Hmmm, well then, organic cotton isn't such a tough sell. Looking at it from that angle, I'm much more willing to make the switch.

Bottom line: buying organic is about more than just you. I still can’t afford to stock my fridge and pantry with only organic food, but as a crafter I'll be using organic, sustainable supplies whenever recycling isn’t an option. I hope you will too.