Is cotton biodegradable?

Compostable synonym

In the world there are more than 40 species of cotton that has its origin in Asia, Africa, India and America. The species Gossypium hirsutum is native to Central America and southern Mexico, is a plant dedicated mainly to the textile industry, the seed is also used for the production of oil and for fodder consumption, and it is known that the garments made from cotton are made with cotton.

And it is known that garments made with cotton are kind to the planet because it is a natural fiber that comes from the earth itself. The cotton plant can be used to make clothes, sheets, healing material, in short.

When we talk about clothes whose label says: 100% cotton, we know that in each wash the microparticles that are released are not harmful to rivers and seas. This means that it is a biodegradable material, which is not the case with clothes made of synthetic fibers.

In a study conducted in 2019 by Cotton Incorporated and the University of North Carolina (Study: “How quickly do textile microfibers degrade in aquatic environments, Cotton Incorporated, 2019”), it was found that in salt water, for a period of one month, a polyester sample had a deterioration of 0%, while a cotton sample had a disintegration of 67%.

Difference between biodegradable and compostable

PAPERPaper is a biodegradable material obtained from renewable natural resources, making it an environmentally friendly alternative. It is light, but with low resistance, so it is recommended for limited uses or as packaging for product delivery. Once used, it can be composted. Our paper bags are FSC certified.

COMPOSTABLE BAGSOur compostable bags have AS 4736, 7P0620 AS 5810 and ABAP 20009 certifications, which certify that at least 95% of their materiality will degrade in a period of less than six months. These certifications include a worm toxicity test, which ensures their use in vermicomposting processes. In addition, the raw materials used in our bags come from seeds that are not genetically modified and are not suitable for human consumption, so their use has an impact on the human food markets.

Organic cotton

Cotton represents 26% of the raw material used in the production of clothing. With 25.9 million tons grown annually, it is crucial to know what is involved in its production, to analyze more closely some of the problems, concerns and solutions to the high demand for this ‘commodity’As a natural fiber, cotton has the advantage over polyester of being biodegradable under conditions that allow it (not in landfills). However, its cultivation and production is linked to claims of pollution and labor exploitation.

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Compostable material

Cotton has the advantage of being renewable, recyclable and rapidly biodegradable. However, it is important to keep in mind that its cultivation requires large amounts of water, 10% of the pesticides manufactured in the world and 25% of the fertilizers, while it occupies only 3% of the cultivated land on the planet.

To avoid encouraging all these evils to the health of the planet, it is good to opt for organic cotton, although it is not easy to acquire, there are already companies that think in terms of sustainability and consider it.

The downside in Argentina is that there is a strong commitment to this type of products for both soybeans and cotton, “which means that the soil is impregnated with toxic substances and then, if some of that land is mixed with the organic crop, it is invalidated,” says Ana, from Verde Textil.