Catherine Schetting Salfino reports that the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) calls cotton “a natural fiber like no other,” because its use decreases the number of plastics entering the planet’s waterways and helps keep oceans clean. She continues:
Unlike synthetic, petroleum-based textiles like polyester, nylon and acrylic, which produce microplastic pollution and can take hundreds of years to decompose, cotton biodegrades quickly, something the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) points out. It calls cotton “a natural fiber like no other,” one of the reasons being that its use decreases the number of plastics entering the planet’s waterways and helps to keep oceans clean.
World Cotton Day, celebrated in early October, is meant to both honor the natural fiber as well as show its enduring positive impact. Cotton’s sustainability factor is just one of the reasons the official theme for World Cotton Day was, “Cotton for Good.”
Since cotton is made of cellulose, an organic compound that is the basis of plant cell walls and vegetable fibers, it biodegrades relatively quickly. This is the case in both soil and water. This quick and natural decomposition is vital, considering that every year, U.S. consumers alone discard more than 34 billion pounds of used textiles, according to a study from the Boston University School of Public Health, and 66 percent of it winds up in landfills.
“A study in the Journal of Hazardous Materials found that people on average may ingest from 0.1-to-5 grams of microplastics every week. For reference purposes, a plastic credit card weighs about 5 grams. Since its initial publication, an author of the study has stated it’s possible there are people in the world who could be consuming an even higher number of particles.”
Consider that more than 8 in 10 consumers (83 percent) consider cotton safe for the environment, according to the Cotton Council International and Cotton Incorporated’s 2023 Global Sustainability Study. This compares to 43 percent for rayon, 42 percent for polyester, and 42 percent for nylon.
Aéropostale is a brand that has made use of the Seal, and plans to continue doing so, according to Michael DeLellis, executive vice president of marketing. “As a leading Gen Z retailer of comfortable, casual clothing, cotton is an integral part of Aéropostale’s success,” DeLellis says. “Over the past 50 years, the Seal of Cotton has been a symbol of premium quality and durability, which has set the industry standard high and continues to inspire us. We look forward to the next 50 years of the logo we all know and love.”
Read more here.